Plans to invest over £26million to acquire hundreds of new homes and address the growing need for affordable housing in Leicester have been announced by the city council.
Leicester City Council intends to buy 371 new properties at a cost of £26.6million.
The money will come from £100million of capital set aside by the city council to support the delivery of affordable housing in Leicester and help increase the number of homes available through the council’s housing register. This will include £10.5million from a pot of cash retained from the sale of council properties under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme.
The vast majority (366) of the properties being purchased are a mix of bedsits, studios and one-bedroom flats. The council will also buy four 2-bedroom flats and a three-bedroom house as part of the deal.
Currently, there are 6,366 households on the council’s housing register, waiting for suitable homes. Of these, over a quarter are waiting for one-bedroom accommodation, with the average waiting time between five months for those assessed as being in the highest priority people, and two years.
The Leicester & Leicestershire Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HEDNA) 2017 concluded that the city needs a further 786 new units of affordable housing each year to meet need.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “There is a desperate need for more affordable housing in the city and we are constantly looking for new ways to provide it. This major investment will significantly increase our housing stock and help address the growing need for affordable homes.
“The Government’s Right to Buy scheme means that we have been forced to sell thousands of council houses over the past 30 years. However, we can only keep half of the money raised through these sales and need to spend it within strict time limits, or we risk losing it all together. This means that it is absolutely vital that we reinvest this cash into replenishing our housing stock to help meet the desperate need for more affordable homes in the city.”