Not-for-profit affordable homes plan

A not-for-profit trust could be set up to help secure low-cost housing in Norfolk villages where young families struggle to buy their own home.

A not-for-profit trust could be set up to help secure low-cost housing in Norfolk villages where young families struggle to buy their own home.

The Community Land Trust (CLT) - an organisation which would build then sell homes on a leasehold basis thus keeping the sell-on value down - is one of a number of initiatives set to be considered by Norfolk County Council.

Labour councillors also want to see the amount of second home council tax invested in housing increased - currently about £500,000 of the £2.5m raised each year directed towards reducing housing waiting lists.

At present 1,164 people in the county are registered as homeless while council housing waiting lists total 26,357. The housing strategy for the East of England estimates that 11,000 new affordable homes are needed in the region each year.

Labour group leader Irene Macdonald said: “There is growing housing need across the whole of the county with more people on housing waiting lists and more young people struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder.

“We believe the county council should combine with our district council partners to draw up a combined plan of action.

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“We consider that there should be a review of the use of funds which the county council receives from second homes council tax with a view to supporting investment in more 'bricks and mortar' projects rather than continuing with present uses of this money.”

Other proposals, which will be considered by the council's cabinet on January 8, include:

Reviewing all county council land and redundant of under-used buildings to assess potential for housing development.

Setting up a CLT which would develop housing for rent and sale across the county but retain the rights to the land meaning rising values, subsidies, planning gain and other equity benefits are secured for future occupiers.

Developing community schemes or independent living units for young people leaving care, people with learning disabilities and for people in mental health hostels or supported accommodation.

Employing a key-worker housing officer.

District councils are responsible for housing but the county council believes an adequate supply of affordable housing is essential for the well-being of the county.

On January 8 the cabinet will consider the proposals and report back to the next meeting of the full council.