Fareham Borough Council to invest in sites to boost affordable houses

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A SCHEME to boost affordable housing has been given the green light and dubbed ‘imaginative’ by councillors.

Fareham Borough Council approved a new approach to encourage housebuilding at its executive meeting this week.

The scheme will see Fareham go into joint venture partnerships with developers to increase building in the borough.

On the council’s executive board, Cllr Connie Hockley called the scheme ‘the most imaginative in some time’.

The current market and financial conditions have resulted in a lack of new affordable homes across the country. At the same time, the need for affordable homes has grown.

Fareham council has a target of providing 500 new affordable homes from 2011 until 2017. This is an average of 83 a year.

Despite this number being exceeded in the first two years, the council has forecast that this number will not be met for the next three. This meant that a new initiative was needed to encourage developers to build.

By investing in the developments, the council would then own a stake, which could either be rented or sold as shared ownership.

Executive member for health and housing, Cllr Brian Bayford said: ‘It is a very exciting and innovative approach which could give rise to an increase in affordable homes.’

On the council’s executive board, Cllr Keith Evans said: ‘This is an interesting initiative to help us deliver additional properties in the future. I support it.’

Cllr Bayford added: ‘It has taken us a long while to work out what we could do, over 18 months, to get to a long-term vision. We have got over 2,000 people on the waiting list.

‘We will not meet our affordable homes target as a lot of planning permission has been given, for something like 600 houses around Fareham, but they are not all progressing as developers cannot get finance. The some that are, are trying not to provide as much affordable housing as they could.’

The council will now consult with the Homes and Community Agency to ensure it approves the idea.

It will come back before the executive in October.