A patch of derelict land in Norwich, which was at the centre of the biggest scandal to hit City Hall in years, is to be sold to make way for a multi-million pound development of almost a hundred homes.

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Norwich City Council leaders last night rubber-stamped a deal to sell land at Greyhound Opening to housing association Orbit Housing Association, which has pledged to invest up to £10m to build affordable homes at the site.

Greyhound Opening made national headlines in 2008 after it emerged that, contrary to city council policy, council staff had moved into the homes, after elderly people who lived there moved out.

The pensioners who lived there and in nearby Goldsmith Street were being re-homed to make way for new houses.

While the council had agreed officers relocating to Norwich could go into the homes, so elderly people who had yet to move out would not feel isolated, it was against policy for other staff to move in.

It sparked a scandal at City Hall, with calls for an independent inquiry, and led to the sacking of Kristine Reeves, the council’s head of neighbourhood and strategic housing, who was among those who moved into the properties.

For four years the site, near Old Palace Road, has stood empty, but in February, the council revealed it was on the brink of selling the site to Orbit Housing Association. And last night, the council agreed a deal which will see the housing association invest up to £10m in a new development of 93 homes, all of which will initially be available for ‘affordable rent’.

That means the council will be able to place some of the people on its waiting list in some of the homes, which are likely to be a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses and one and two bedroom flats.

Victoria MacDonald, cabinet member for housing, said: “This is a good news story because when this came to cabinet earlier in the year the proposal was to split the housing between ones available for affordable rent and low cost ownership sold on the open market, “But fortunately, Orbit have come back and said it can be 100pc affordable housing on the site, which is a far better offer and more in keeping with what we need in the city.

“We welcome this and the opportunities it will create for jobs, construction and housing in the city.”

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for planning and transportation, added: “This is an investment which will see money going into the the building supply industry. It’s about jobs, homes and prosperity.”

Orbit plans to start building on the site by May next year, with a view to getting the homes finished by March 2015.

Householders and businesses in the Goldsmith Street area will be written to this month with details of how they can take part in a consultation about the new homes, with a planning application set to be lodged before Christmas.

• Do you have a story about a local council? Call Norwich Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

12 comments

  • Labour Council trying hard to spin out of this disastrous affair Pity opposition was so weak Waken up Greens and get active on these issues

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    No to tory boy

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • The report by the Halifax backed up my comment - buying a home works out less than renting...by a nice hefty 145 crisp notes every month. These new HA homes..when built, will just be a drain on the tax payer via housing benefit, cheaper homes to buy can only be the real answer facing todays youngsters.

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    nrg

    Monday, September 17, 2012

  • Don,t worry citizens Labour in charge at City Hall Affordable housing ? Really nice soundbite

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    PaulH

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • The article says that the houses will 'initially be available for ‘affordable rent’ so does this mean occupants can look forward to significant increases in rent?

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    andy

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • This site should have been redeveloped four years ago.

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    MattW

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • affordable renting = 80 percent of the local private rented sector...probably be cheaper to get a mortgage if you can raise the 20 percent deposit required by most lenders nowadays....not very affordable to rent, unless all the occupants scheduled -are single mums etc on housing benefit, which is probably why this housing scheme is now 100 percent 'affordable renting'

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    nrg

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • The scandal of the Greyhound site happened under Steve Morphew's leadership, for four years speculations were rife, only now progressing to become a reality. But what of the talk of sustainable housing?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • for two days my comments have been held back, even informing them by email does not work.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • it would be okay if norwich people were given these places but we all know its not going to happen . Even frank field the labour mp reminded us all that half of all social housing is going to immigrants

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    milecross

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • The Greyhound site scandal, according to the EDP then, happened under Steve Morphews leadership and still nothing has changed after four years of labour inefficiency, now this speculative bubble. Will the code for sustainable housing come to be applied?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Is this for real? I trust it is going to be sheltered housing for the elderly who used to live in Greyhound opening. Otherwise what are they going to do? Give them a tent and send them to Mousehold Heath?

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    alecto

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • Exactly what is "affordable Housing" is it code for subsidised housing I wonder ?

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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