Behind closed doors deal to lend £11.4m for new homes on edge of city
PUBLISHED: 15:59 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 10 December 2019
A loan of up to £11.4m has been made available by Norwich City Council to help get more than 70 new private homes built on the edge of Norwich - but it will have an impact on the authority's budget planning.
The agreement to lend the cash to Norwich Regeneration Ltd - a company owned by the council - for the homes at Rayne Park in Three Score, Bowthorpe, was taken at a behind closed doors meeting last month.
The press and public were excluded from the meeting because it would have disclosed information relating to financial or business affairs.
But the decision was revealed in the recently published minutes, which showed it was agreed with 31 votes in favour and seven abstentions.
The minutes also stated that lending up to £11.4m towards the construction of the homes would have an impact on the council's budget planning for 2020/21.
While the confidential report to the council contained 14 paragraphs outlining what the impact on the council's budget and medium term financial strategy would be, the council says it cannot make that information public.
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The council says it was not an unexpected cost and was factored in as part of the budget planning process.
City Hall says the loan will go towards 74 homes which will be privately rented or sold.
Work to build 172 new homes at Rayne Park started in May 2017, with RG Carter constructing them.
Families have already moved into the first 40 homes built and work has started on sections 3 and 4, with section 2 to follow.
The council says 112 of the homes -including all 74 in phases two, three and four - will be built to Passivhaus standards.
Passivhaus homes are properties designed to use as little energy for heating and cooling as possible - such as in the case of the RIBA Stirling Prize winning homes in Norwich's Goldsmith Street.
Once complete, Rayne Park will include a range of homes from one-bed apartments to five-bed family houses, as well as 57 affordable homes.
They are part of a scheme to build 1,000 homes at the 80-acre Three Score site - the final piece in a jigsaw which dates back to the 1970s, when the council snapped up 502 acres of land at Bowthorpe in a £9.5m deal.