Council buys 19 huge family homes for affordable rent

Friday, February 28th, 2020 8:13am

By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter @CharGreenLDR

Council chiefs have purchased 19 huge family homes, which will be powered by renewable energy to rent out as 'affordable'.

Oldham’s cabinet has agreed to buy a development of new five-bedroom homes which are currently being built at Primrose Bank in Werneth.The homes would be let at affordable rent, which is up to 80 per cent of market rent.

Bosses say they could accommodate large families of up to nine people in each house.

While the town hall would own the homes, a registered provider such as Great Places would be commissioned to manage them.

Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Hannah Roberts told the meeting there are currently 2,689 families waiting for a large home of four bedrooms or more, but there are currently only 213 such houses in Oldham.

“We have a severe shortage of larger properties for social or affordable rent in the borough,” she said. 

“A rough calculation is it will take 100 years to house all those families who are currently waiting for a home of that size.

“So 19 homes won’t make a huge dent but it will be a significant percentage increase on the 200 odd that we have currently and will offer some people who are in need a home that they can afford.”

The cost of purchasing the houses was discussed in a private section of the cabinet meeting on Monday night from which the press and public were barred.

However the council has agreed to use Section 106 contributions from other developments which are designated to be spent on affordable housing provision in the borough.

The town hall will also use Housing Revenue Account funds to make the purchase of the houses from Engie Regeneration.

It is planned to make the homes part of a European Union-funded pilot to make housing more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.

They will be powered by a combination of solar PV, electric heating and battery storage.

Cabinet member for finance, Cllr Abdul Jabbar added: “We’re actually making these properties very efficient and getting a scheme installed which means that the power requirement of those houses will actually be generated from renewable energy.

“I’m sure this is certainly the only scheme in the north west and probably in the whole of England that something like this is happening.

“In terms of trying to de-carbonise, Oldham is leading the way.”

Council leader Sean Fielding added: “As well as providing homes for larger families, this will contribute to our ambition to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030 so it’s great news on two counts.”

The homes, on Ashton Road and Lee Street are currently being built with seven homes due to be completed in August this year and the final 12 in September.

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