Chorley Council is to become the latest local authority to set up a housing company to provide more affordable homes for its residents.
According to council papers, the company will buy 120 homes in the district over the next six years, which would also provide much-needed income to protect services for residents right across the borough.
It will be funded by a loan of up to £13.8 million from the Public Works Loan Board, as part of a long-term investment for the council.
The proposal, which is a key part of the council’s corporate strategy, will see the authority provide a mix of affordable housing and private rented homes.
‘This is another example of us doing something different to act on what people tell us is important to them while balancing the books as our government grant completely disappears,’ said Cllr Jane Fitzsimons, who is responsible for housing at the local authority.
‘Far too many people in the borough are telling us they can’t afford their own home, or can’t even afford to rent in Chorley, and one way we can do something about this is by influencing the housing market ourselves.
‘By setting up a housing company we aim to provide a number of properties at an affordable rate while improving the standard of homes in the private rented sector, particularly for people with limited choice.’
The move to set up a housing company is something other local authorities have done successfully and could include a mix of new homes bought direct from developers, the development of homes on council-owned land and the purchase of homes from the wider housing market.
Earlier this month, Bristol City Council announced it was setting up its own housing company.
‘We’ve done a lot of work to get to this stage and we feel this is a great opportunity to address the lack of affordable homes to rent and drive improvements in the private rented sector,’ said Cllr Fitzsimons.
“The next steps will be to get all the finer detail sorted to set up the company and we aim to have the first board meeting early next year.’
Further detail will be brought back to councillors before the company is formally set up with the intention of it being managed in-house by the council.
The council agenda paper on the new company is available to read here .