The beginning of a plan to build 4,000 affordable homes in York is moving forward
At the executive decision session on Thursday, November 16, senior councillors voted that the housing provision across developments at Ordnance Lane, in Fulford, and Willow House, off Walmgate, will be 100 per cent affordable.
However, this will lead to increased borrowing “above and beyond previous assumptions and modelling for the programme.”
100 homes are set to be built in Ordnance Lane next year, while work on 40 new homes is set to start in 2025 at the Willow House site.
The homes will be built to Passivhaus standard, which the council says would have energy bills that are 70 per cent cheaper than the average home.
A report written by council officers has explained that the city’s desperate need for affordable housing is due to a lack of house building in previous years.
It says there is a need for 592 new affordable homes each year, but “the accumulated number of affordable housing completions in York over the last five years is 648.”
The report goes on to read: “The policies and site allocations within this are anticipated to deliver over 4,000 affordable homes over the next 15 years.”
The council’s housing executive Cllr Michael Pavlovic said: “York is already in a housing affordability crisis, with average properties now at around 11 times average wages and rents increasingly out of reach to many.
“Coupled with a growing housing waiting list exacerbated by increases in evictions by private [landlords], and family’s finding rising mortgage costs stretching their already beleaguered finances, the need for affordable housing has never been greater.”
The scheme at Ordnance Lane is estimated to cost over £30m, however, a full business case will be brought to the executive detailing the level of borrowing required for both projects.
The plans also include the purchase of 10 homes for resettlement and temporary accommodation, which would require additional borrowing of £1.47m to fund.
The council will now also seek to sell land at the former Woolnough House care home site and the former 68 Centre site.
A budget allocation will be sought from the executive once the tender process is complete enabling greater cost certainty.
Leader of the City of York Council Cllr Claire Douglas said: “We committed to putting 100 per cent affordable housing on council-owned land because – surprise, surprise – if we as a local authority are not doing it, nobody else is doing it.
“Our city needs affordable housing.
“We have to find ways of doing it and working internally on how we deliver our housing is really important.”