FOUR houses that have stood empty for years are to be bought by a council and used to accommodate homeless families.
Fareham Borough Council will buy two properties in Coldeast Close, Sarisbury Green, from Affinity Sutton Housing Association at a cost of £370,000 and rent two more at a peppercorn rent of just a few pounds a year from the Homes and Communities Agency.
The council has budgeted to spend a further £30,000 making sure the buildings are done up to an acceptable standard.
And once the houses are returned to use, the land around them could be used to build more social housing.
Councillor Brian Bayford, who is in charge of housing matters, said: ‘It would result in accommodation for four homeless families.
‘These are homeless families who might have been made redundant, couldn’t keep up with the mortgage or had the place they were renting sold on.
‘It will be for genuine homeless folk. The properties also have fairly large back gardens and there is a potential at some stage to develop four more properties on that site.’
The council will have final say who can use the homes.
They are only expected to be for short-term use, not long-term lettings.
Councillor Arthur Mandry said: ‘It’s a shame sometimes when people look at the anticipated use and fear the worst.
‘But there is an opportunity here to provide even more houses than we currently have.
‘Let’s get the people in there who need the housing. If other people object, that’s the way of the world I’m afraid.’
Council leader Cllr Sean Woodward added: ‘This money will get us four houses for four families in great need and a potential development plot that could give us more.’
Proposals to go ahead with the plans were backed unanimously by the council’s ruling executive at a meeting on Monday evening.