Housing trust’s drive to build 1,000 new affordable homes in north Norfolk

Victory Housing chief executive John Archibald (left) at a new homes scheme in North Walsham. Pictur

Victory Housing chief executive John Archibald (left) at a new homes scheme in North Walsham. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk's affordable housing crisis could be eased by a bold plan to build 1,000 new homes over the next 10 years.

Social landlord Victory Housing Trust will spend £200m to deliver two new homes per week and to add new kitchens, bathrooms and central heating to a host of existing houses.

The vision, revealed in its 10-year corporate plan, will see 300 properties sold off to part-fund the drive to build new ones.

Chief executive John Archibald said it was a 'statement of intent', designed to 'provide as many affordable homes' as possible in north Norfolk.

Victory Housing, which owns and manages 5,000-plus homes, took over north Norfolk council housing stock when it was transferred from North Norfolk District Council in 2006.

Mr Archibald said it had built on average one new home per week, along with completing a new kitchen, bathroom and central heating every day.

But the target was to double the output of new homes – while spending £65m over 10 years to maintain the pace of refurbishment and £31m on ongoing repairs. He said: 'To make this possible, we will need to sell some of our out-dated, less energy-efficient stock, to free up funds which will lever in extra investment to enable us to build many more new homes.'

Most Read

He said nobody would be 'forced' to move if they did not want to, and added: 'In addition, we have committed over £100m to repairs and improvements, including a massive £65m improvement programme which will mean that not only will the north of Norfolk have more affordable homes than ever before – but they will be better quality than ever before.'

He said Victory's aim was to be in the top 10pc of social housing providers for resident satisfaction.

Affordable housing is one of the key issues in north Norfolk, where there are more than 4,000 people on the waiting list for homes. The problem is exacerbated by construction firms trying to reduce the proportion of affordable homes on new developments, claiming they are 'unviable'.

Last week, Hopkins Homes submitted plans for 176 homes at the former HL Foods canning factory at North Walsham – but with no affordable homes included. Also last week, Norfolk Homes gained provisional consent for 145 homes at Roughton Road, Cromer – despite the development including 28pc affordable homes.

The district council recently reduced the target of affordable homes in parts of north Norfolk from 45pc to 20pc, including Cromer.

Mr Archibald said he would prefer to see developments with a small proportion of affordable housing, than no development at all.

He would not be drawn on locations for new homes, but said: 'The whole of north Norfolk is a hot spot for demand. I would love us to build a small number of houses in most villages. It would help revitalise communities.'

And, referring to the sale of some stock, he added: 'Nobody in a home, who doesn't want to move, will be forced to move.'