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More council homes set for construction

AROUND 150 new council homes are set for construction from now until 2022 under Swansea Council's ambitious house building schemes.

council housing

The proposals contained in a report agreed by Cabinet on Thursday (Feb 21) also contain plans for developing 550 affordable council homes for rent on council land as well as exploring opportunities for joint ventures with other social landlords like housing associations and commercial partners. 

Work is starting next month on developing new, energy-efficient affordable homes at Parc y Helig, followed soon after by the development of a second phase of building at Colliers Way.

If the report going to Cabinet is approved the aim is to start building 70 new homes in the coming year, rising to 142 by 2022 at a total cost of £22.8m. The report will be phase one of the Council's capital development programme with a further phase 2 report exploring the opportunities for developing the Council's General Fund owned Land due to follow soon after in March.

If approved, all the properties will be built to a new 'Swansea Standard' level of energy-efficiency to help new tenants keep fuel bills down. Those at Parc y Helig and Colliers Way will be 'Homes as Power Stations' with any surplus energy generated being sold to the power grid.

Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, said: "The council will be committing itself to the continuation of much-needed council house-building for the first time in a generation.

"The properties will be available for affordable rent to local families, will be built to last and will have adaptability built-in so older tenants or those with disabilities moving in will be able to have the property tweaked for their needs.

"None of the borrowing needed for these activities will come from the council tax - it will all be paid for from the rent tenants pay into the housing revenue account."

As well as the projects planned for Parc y Helig and Colliers Way, further preparatory work is planned in the coming financial year for house-building earmarked for Hill View Crescent and Beacons View Road in Clase which will be subject to planning permission.

The report to Cabinet also highlights proposals for building in future years in Bonymaen, Scurlage, West Cross and Creswell Road in Clase.

The new homes initiative comes as the council continues its work on upgrading its entire 13,500 council housing stock to the Wales Housing Quality Standard by 2020.

Swansea Council has been using contractors to complete the renewal programme and in the last five years 742 properties have had new kitchens and 1,066 properties have had new bathrooms. 

Cabinet agreed last September to continue the work and will fit new kitchens and bathrooms in 5,500 properties.

The investment is more than £273,453,000 from now until 2022/23.  £47,705,000 this financial year, £67,31,000 next year and this will help all council properties meet the required standards. The works are predominantly funded by revenue from council rents with support from the Welsh Government.

Cllr Lewis said: We are committed to ensuring all council homes meet the WHQS which enables our council tenants to live in a good quality home they feel safe in.

"We have already invested millions carrying out this work during the last three years where many homes are already getting the benefit of new kitchens and bathrooms.

"We still have around half of our housing stock to complete and we expect to achieve this by 2020."

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