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Local authority toys with creating own housing company

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Local authority toys with creating own housing company

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Development, Housing

Local authority toys with creating own housing company Local authority toys with creating own housing company

Slough Borough Council is considering setting up its own housing company to buy and develop land.

Council officers think that the creation of a subsidiary housing company (SHC) could help meet the growing demand for housing in the borough.

The aim of the company would be to build homes on smaller infill sites owned by the council, which are less attractive to large developers.

The local authority claims that this would not only generate new homes and jobs for local people, but would also give it greater influence on the regeneration of such sites, which are often redundant or derelict and harm the image of Slough.

It would compliment the work of Slough Regeneration Partnership - a joint venture between the council and Morgan Sindall Plc – which was set up to work on larger projects, like housing developments in Ledgers Road and Wexham Nursery.

Officers will present the results of a feasibility study to the council cabinet before asking for members’ approval to draw up a more detailed business plan of how the SHC would operate.

Neil Aves, assistant director of housing and environment, said: “We think setting up an SHC will help us respond better to the wider needs of the community while maximising the value of our land and assets.

“The company would start by developing land the council already owns before acquiring new plots. As more homes were built, it would either sell them on the open market or rent them out as affordable housing.

“If successful, the company could help resolve a number of outstanding housing issues and provide a substantial and ongoing revenue stream for the council.”

Cllr James Swindlehurst, deputy leader and commissioner for neighbourhoods and renewal, said: “By setting up an SHC we would be completing our armoury of tools, allowing us to build smaller residential schemes on council-owned land as well as big projects like Ledgers Road.

“A number of redundant sites in the borough are eye sores and the construction of high standard family homes would improve the image of Slough and, most importantly, provide a further supply of much-needed housing.

“In these difficult economic times we need to come up with more creative ways of maximising our assets for the benefit of residents and this is an exciting opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.”

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