City council plans to spend £34m buying up houses for homeless

An artists impression of the building at Bretton Court
An artists impression of the building at Bretton Court
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A spending splurge of £34 million will attempt to reduce the growing number of homeless families in Peterborough.

The city council is planning to spend the money on buying up homes in the city before renting them out via Peterborough’s largest housing association Cross Keys Homes.

At the end of September there were 328 homeless households in Peterborough, up from 97 two years earlier.

That figure is expected to continue to rise and cost the council an extra £5.7 million in three years’ time due to the increased use of bed and breakfast-type accommodation for families without somewhere to live.

Council leader Cllr John Holdich said purchasing the new homes would help alleviate homelessness in Peterborough, adding: “Long-term as well we’ve got to get people who are homeless into full tenancy.

“We’ve got lots of ideas which will come to fruition.”

Details of how the £34 million will be spent have not been revealed yet.

A paper was due to be released in time for last week’s cabinet meeting but was delayed due a legal issue which needed to be sorted out.

The locations of the houses have not been disclosed, but a separate council document reveals future plans to provide a grant for 29 affordable homes in Midland Road, West Town.

The vehicle for the house buying spree is Medesham Homes, a joint venture between the council and Cross Keys which the council has previously set aside £34 million of capital funding for.

Cross Keys will manage the properties once they are ready to be used for homeless families.

Labour’s group leader on the council, Cllr Ed Murphy, said: “Finally it seems that the administration has been persuaded to do the right thing.

“If they had listened to me and taken up this Labour group idea or accepted our previous budget proposals, many families in Peterborough would not have had the misery of homelessness and the council would not have wasted money on hotels and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.”

For more on the homelessness situation in Peterborough, see pages 4 and 5.