Council to use its own land for new homes

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SENIOR politicians are due to meet this month to discuss plans to use more publicly-owned land for development to address a critical lack of affordable housing on the Yorkshire coast.

Scarborough Borough Council is adopting a bold approach to counter the effects of the economic slump by releasing its own landholdings to provide scores of critically-needed homes.

A review of council-owned sites in Scarborough itself as well as Whitby has been completed, while analysis of potential locations in the south of the borough has been undertaken. The council’s cabinet is due to meet this month to discuss the results of public consultations on the reviews.

A total of 50 new affordable homes have so far been completed on council-owned land. A further 120 properties are due to be built on council-owned land which has been approved for release by the cabinet. Other council-owned sites are also being considered, which could lead to as many as 150 new affordable homes being built.

The council is drawing up a long-term strategy to map out house-building targets which is aimed at constructing hundreds of new homes each year for coastal communities.

The average property price in the district was £163,330 in 2011 while the average wage was just £18,127, according to the latest data from the National Housing Federation. But parts of the borough fall within some of Yorkshire’s most desirable postcodes, including the North York Moors National Park where average house prices are in excess of £200,000.

The council’s housing manager, Andrew Rowe, told the Yorkshire Post in November last year that the number of affordable homes built across the district had “significantly increased” in recent years. There were 108 affordable homes completed during the last financial year with a further 100 properties due to be built during this year and 140 more in 2013/14.