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New thinking needed for social and affordable housing say Rugby Liberal Democrats

November 8, 2020 12:11 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Neil Sandison and Tim DouglasRugby Liberal Democrats Councillors call for a step change in the provision of social and affordable housing to tackle the housing crisis in Rugby through Rent Now Buy Later and Community Led Land Trusts.

The motion put forward by the Liberal Democrats Group aims to widen the tenure types available to those in housing need and asks for Rugby Borough Council to investigate the feasibility of the two options.

Rent Now Buy Later, is a scheme that offers affordable rented homes 20% below market rents with the option that when the tenant can afford it to consider home purchase with a gifted 10% off the deposit. The scheme is called Rent Plus and has already been taken up by a number of Councils across the country.

Community Led Land Trusts allow groups to get together in order to build homes at permanently affordable levels for long-term community benefit.

Commenting, Councillor Neil Sandison (Eastlands), said:

"If we are going to tackle genuine housing need in Rugby, then we need to think outside of the conventional box at new forms of tenure. At the moment Rugby Borough Council has to go cap in hand to developers and ask for a percentage of new homes to be at socially affordable rents or offered on a shared ownership basis. Whilst developers agree when seeking outline planning permission many frequently use the get out clause of project viability to significantly under deliver on agreed targets."

Councillor Tim Douglas (Paddox), added:

"Rugby Borough Council has significant land holdings on brownfield sites that are expensive for the Council to redevelop or small developers to bring forward in terms of attracting financial support to turn a derelict piece of land into viable and affordable new homes. Community Led Land Trusts could utilise these sites and help to level up the affordability of new homes."

Motion to Rugby Borough Council Liberal Democrat Group - November 2020

Rent Now Buy Later New Homes and small site self-build affordable community homes.

This Council recognizes the acute shortage of social and affordable housing currently being delivered by developers in the Rugby housing market through the approved development plan.

This is in part is due to the viability assessments carried out independently prior to approval of applications by the Council. This is having a negative impact on the delivery of social and affordable housing. Council also notes that our assets are a valuable resource and could enable this Council to deliver socially affordable homes in line with existing policy to rent.

Considering this, Council urgently requests that the Executive Director carry out research into

  1. the feasibility of a modern rent now buy later option based on using the "Rent Plus" model which could also entitle tenants to take up the option of home purchase at a later date.
  1. brownfield sites in the urban area which may be an attractive option for "Community led Land Trusts" along with self-build trusts which can aid the regeneration of these long-neglected sites and help level up those communities.

and

  1. A report be brought back to council at the commencement of the new municipal year 2021 with recommendations

Proposed by Cllr Neil Sandison

Seconded by Cllr Tim Douglas

https://rentplus-uk.com/

http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/