Sefton to bring social housing delivery back in-house
The council is to acquire properties from Sandway Homes, the housing development company it set up in January 2019, as part of a drive to re-enter the social housing market for the first time in almost 15 years.
Sefton Council completed a social housing stock transfer in 2006 so that the development and management of homes was overseen at arms’ length.
However, it now wishes to re-enter the market, beginning with the acquisition of nine under-development apartments on the planned 70-unit Sefton Grange scheme at Buckley Hill Lane from Sandway Homes.
The council will then need to register with the Regulator of Social Housing as a social housing provider and become an accredited investment partner of government agency Homes England, which funds new affordable housing in the country.
The initiative will also involve the formation of a delivery team and the development of a business plan.
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “This is an historic moment for Sefton, and I am extremely proud that after 15 years we will be able to provide our most vulnerable residents with a range of good quality, affordable housing.
“This is just the beginning, but this move shows how the council is committed to supporting those residents to get the homes they need and deserve.”
The current stock of social housing in the borough is currently very low, added Sefton Council leader Ian Maher, making it difficult for residents to find housing that is more suitable for them than the private rental market.
“Having the ability to acquire these properties means we can support our communities by giving them more housing options,” he said.
The Sefton Grange development on the former Z Blocks land brownfield site forms part of Sefton’s Local Plan, which was adopted in April 2017, and is part of the council’s drive to increase availability of housing stock across the borough.
Sandway Homes is also building 30 new homes at Hey Farm Gardens in Crossens and 47 more at Sandy Brook in Ainsdale, with both schemes due to be completed this year. Sefton did not say whether it also intends to acquire these properties as part of its plans.
Christian Rogers, managing director of Sandway Homes, said: “We are working closely with the council as its delivery partner and currently delivering our two developments in the north of the borough.
“We are eager to secure planning permission for the development in the south and facilitate the provision of additional social housing in the borough.”