Peterborough is set to get new council housing - 15 years after handing over its stock to housing association Cross Keys Homes.
The city council has revealed plans to set up a new Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which will allow it to take control over houses it purchases, and to build its own stock which it can rent out to homeless families.
The council has already set up a joint housing venture with Cross Keys - Medesham Homes - to build social housing, while the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is currently investing in affordable housing in the city.
But city council leader Cllr John Holdich said the Government’s decision to lift the cap on council borrowing to spend on housing meant the time was right to invest once again in its own housing stock. He said: “We have to exploit every avenue we can to acquire houses. There is only so much housing associations can do. In 2004 the Government took part of the council’s housing rent, so the only way to break even was to not do repairs. In 2004 it was the right thing to do (to hand over the housing stock).”
The council has already borrowed £10 million to buy 51 houses in the city on the open market, but until the Government signs off the HRA the authority is having to allow Bee Lettings to manage the properties.
The number of homeless families in B&B accommodation has reduced from 146 to 73 over the past year, despite a 56 per cent rise in homeless applications to the council.
The number of city families living in temporary accommodation is roughly 385 a month.