NEARLY 300 new affordable homes could be built in Portsmouth if a council venture is successful.
At a cabinet meeting yesterday (Oct 9) it was revealed that a bid had been submitted by the council to build an additional 200 affordable dwellings, on top of the original 95 that councillors approved at the same meeting.
As a result of the meeting five council sites, deemed the most under-used in the city, will be redeveloped into housing including 95 affordable homes and 135 private.
Speaking about proposals for the 95 homes housing boss, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: ‘It is not just this we are doing. We have bid for another 200 affordable homes on council land.’
Some councillors and members of the public had concerns that the government rule of rents for affordable homes set at 80 per cent below market value was still too high, and that more new builds should be used for affordable homes rather than private ones.
Cllr Sanders added: ‘The rent shouldn’t be 80 per cent below market rate, because that is unaffordable.’
Labour Cllr Judith Smyth agreed. ‘I am absolutely in support of new housing and affordable housing,’ she said.
‘Anything that brings that forward quickly is welcome.
‘But we don’t have to stick with the rents we have been told. We should include in the plans that it is always with a view to maximise affordable housing on all sites.’
Housing activist Cal Corkery shared their worries.
He said: ‘While I welcome any attempts to bring forward new social housing development I do have concerns that the proposals being discussed today are unambitious in their scope, insufficiently targeted at those in most housing need, and fail to adhere to council planning policy with regard to tenure mix.’
The decision made will give the council scope to redevelop the sites, but the details are yet to be finalised.
Council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, believed the sites did not need to be limited to housing. He said: ‘Personally I would like us to look, particularly on the site of the records office on Museum Road, at something around supportive living for people who are retiring. I don’t understand why that sort of thing is only ever on offer from the private sector.
‘Doing this would release family homes back to the next generation.’
The sites that will be redeveloped are the Southsea Community Centre, King Street; a former office and retail site, Arundel Street; land cleared following the demolition of Northern Parade Clinic, Doyle Avenue; Brewery House, Hambrook Street; and the records office, Museum Road.