500 new council homes could be built over the next six years
PUBLISHED: 18:50 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:50 13 November 2019
More than 500 new council homes could be built in Norwich in the next six years in the wake of the success of the Goldsmith Street estate.
The council cabinet approved the new housing strategy for Norwich when they met on Wednesday afternoon, accusing the government of being "unhelpful" in aiding construction of social housing.
Just under £100m is available in Norwich City Council's budget to build new homes and for maintenance on the 14,729 tenanted homes, 3,059 leasehold homes and 3,333 garages.
About £94m was spent in the past seven years to improve council homes.
But the success of the council-built Goldsmith Street development, which won the RIBA architecture prize, means City Hall leaders are keen to build more.
There are 4,024 people on its waiting list and about 140 homes of council stock is sold under right to buy each year.
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Gail Harris, cabinet member with responsibility for social housing, said: "We have the challenge of trying to replace homes lost through Right to Buy. Norwich is losing 140 properties each year through tenants exercising Right to Buy and the government still has not relaxed restrictions on Right to Buy receipts.
"They have to be used within three years or we have the privilege of paying the government back with interest. This firmly puts the risk on local authorities."
Liberal Democrat James Wright, for Eaton, said: "It is very important at a time when the private sector is failing to deliver the social housing the city needs that the local authority is prepared to step in."
The cabinet also agreed new guidance on the future of student housing in the city.
The estimates are that there would be a need for 1,000 extra purpose built units by 2024 and almost 1,500 by 2029.
The University of East Anglia is projecting an increase of 4,805 students by 2036 - an rise of 22pc, from 17.195 to 22,000.
And the Norwich University of the Arts predicts its numbers will increase from 2,215 to 2,600 10 years from now.
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: "The increase in student numbers has been accompanied by an increase in planning applications. Purpose built student developments can relieve pressure on the general housing stock, particularly larger houses that might otherwise be used as HMOs."