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Cabinet agrees innovative funding for housing scheme

Published: 20/05/2016

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet has agreed to provide capital finance to fund the development of 62 affordable homes in Flint – the first council in Wales to agree this revolutionary approach to funding affordable housing. The 62 properties form part of the Council’s Strategic Housing and Revenue Programme (SHARP) which plans to build 300 affordable homes in the county between 2016 and 2020. The current anticipated build cost for the scheme is £7.4M. Chairman of the NEW Homes Board, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said: Once built, these homes will be managed by NEW Homes (North East Wales Homes), a company set up by the Council in April 2014 to increase the housing options available to local residents. The NEW Homes board met on 26 April and, after careful consideration of a range of options, agreed that the preferred funding provider would be Flintshire County Council. With this funding in place, NEW Homes will be able to extend its offer of quality affordable housing in Flint and across the county. The Leader of Flintshire County Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said: “This is a really innovative and exciting way to finance affordable homes for our residents. This development will support delivery of a key strategic objective in the Council’s Improvement Plan while generating a financial return for the Council for the next 45 years. “As a new company NEW Homes does not currently have enough credit history to borrow directly to fund The Walks scheme independently without a council guarantee. After also considering a number of private sector leasing options, the Board agreed that Council borrowing was their preferred route. “Not only would the funding be quicker to secure, enabling an earlier start on site, the Council will be able to charge a higher interest to NEW Homes than it can borrow at, but this rate can still be lower than the rate NEW Homes could achieve for the private market. For the Council, this is low risk and provides a new income stream which could be replicated in future for other strategic priorities.” Once the houses are built, the Council will also benefit from the additional Council Tax that the tenants living in the new properties will pay.