Scheme to get homes built sounds like a winner

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CLIVE SMITH: More people in Portsmouth simply means even more problems

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It’s no exaggeration to say that the devastating double-dip recession has taken its toll on just about everyone.

But one area that’s been particularly hard hit is housing development.

Both sides in the housing equation have suffered – the developers themselves as they don’t have the finance to get going with their plans and, of course, homebuyers, many of whom have been priced out of the market.

Especially hard hit have been would-be first-time buyers.

People desperate to get on that first rung of the property ladder.

The recession has hit them with a double whammy.

Not only do they need huge deposits to even have a chance of getting a mortgage, but the homes they need are very often not there.

New developments often have a quota they must meet for so-called affordable housing.

But because many schemes have been put on hold or canned altogether, they never get built.

So that’s why it’s so good to read about Fareham Borough Council’s plan to get the wheels moving again.

Its big idea will see it invest in building schemes alongside the developer.

The joint venture would give the capital push needed to get stalled schemes going again.

And when they are completed, the council keeps a stake in the homes which would be rented, or sold as shared ownership.

Cllr Brian Bayford says: ‘it’s an exciting an innovative approach’. And it is. It’s a win-win for all parties.

The council makes a sound investment, the developer gets a helping hand and the potential buyer has an option at last.

We can only hope it’s a success and if it is, may be something other councils in the area could look at taking inspiration from.