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CAERPHILLY: Council allocates where it is to build council houses over next three years

CAERPHILLY: Council allocates where it is to build council houses over next three years

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Caerphilly County Borough Council is planning to build council houses in Crosskeys, Risca, Bargoed and Oakdale if it receives a social housing grant from the Welsh Government.

The four projects form part of the council’s Programme Development Plan (PDP) for 2021/22 – which outlines where there is a need for affordable homes in the county borough.

PDPs are presented to the Welsh Government to access social housing grants which, if approved, help towards the cost of building affordable homes.

The council is asking the Welsh Government for £10.72 million.

Four schemes have been included in the PDP and the social housing grant will part-fund them. If funding is secured, each scheme will then be decided individually and planning permission sought.

The schemes are:

  • Build 15 one and two bedroom apartments in St Catherine’s Church, Crosskeys.
  • Minimum of 40 homes for older people in Ty Darran, Risca – as part of an integrated health and wellbeing hub.
  • Maximum of 100 homes to be built as part of an eco-village concept, on the former Oakdale Comprehensive School site.
  • Develop 55 homes at Heolddu Grove, Bargoed.

In a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday September 15, Jane Roberts-Waite, Strategic Coordination Manager at the council, said: “Throughout the county borough we have a pressing need for one bedroom accommodation and less demand for family accommodation.”

She added: “We are happy to work with any provider that will deliver homes to the people of Caerphilly County Borough.”

Leader of the council, Philippa Marsden, said: “We are ambitious in what we want to do in terms of new and affordable homes for our residents.”

The Welsh Government has committed to developing 20,000 low carbon homes for rent across Wales during the next five years, and it has changed the way local authorities can apply for social housing grants.

What has changed? 
For the first time, local authorities in Wales can finance the building of council houses in the same way as housing associations.

Previously, the allocation of funding was based on zones and the local authority had to work on developments in collaboration with housing associations in that zone. Therefore the social housing grants were divided between them.

Now, funding is allocated on a regional basis and anyone in the region can apply for funding. Therefore local authorities do not have to collaborate with a housing association.

The Welsh Government requires a PDP and a local housing market assessment prospectus for local authority areas to access social housing grants.

The change follows a review of the delivery of affordable housing by the Welsh Government in 2018. The Welsh Government hopes the change of process will make it easier for local authorities to provide social housing.

Shayne Cook, Cabinet member for Social Care, said: “The ambition of the Welsh Government to increase the low-carbon and affordable homes is a really good thing.”

A new housing market assessment will be done by the council to present to the Welsh Government in a prospectus by early next year.

Words: Rhiannon James, Local Democracy Reporter

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