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Bristol City Council sets out its ambition to build new family homes
Release date: Fri, 05/10/2012
Ambitious plans to start building 12 new large family homes in 2012/13 in order to tackle overcrowding have been unveiled by Bristol City Council.
The announcement follows Government changes to funding council housing which will allow BCC to keep the money it receives in the form of rent from council homes and to have full control over the way that it uses that income.
Councillor Anthony Negus, Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration, said: “I am very proud to have pressed for building the first new council-funded social housing in Bristol for 30 years.
"Creating more homes to meet the current demand is one of the key priorities for the future and this is the most we could begin building this year within the controls set.
"Changes to legislation governing the way local authorities manage their Housing Revenue Account (HRA) gives the council a tremendous opportunity to help kick-start the local housing market.
“There is a shortage of property with four-bedrooms or more in the private-rented sector and much of this is beyond the means of many families.
"This has been exacerbated by the introduction of changes to welfare benefits this year which means that claimants are only entitled to benefit for a maximum of four bedrooms."
The greatest location of need is in the central area of Bristol where the shortage of properties with four-bedrooms or more is most acute.
There are approximately 2,500 overcrowded households (i.e. short of one bedroom) on the housing register in Bristol. More than 100 households are severely overcrowded (i.e. two bedrooms short of need). In an average year BCC can meet 75 per cent of the demand for three-bedroom homes but only seven per cent of the demand for four or more bedroom houses.
Councillor Negus added: “We are already working to tackle this demand through our under-occupation scheme which encourages people living in social rented properties that are too large for their current needs to downsize. But we need to do much more.
“Getting overcrowded families out of their existing homes will also have a knock-on effect to the benefit of others. On average, each four-bedroom property that is freed up will help a total of three other overcrowded families.
“I hope that 12 new large family homes that work will begin on over the next 12 months will be the first of many to be built by Bristol City Council.”
The new council homes will be built on former garage sites that have been freed up as a result of the councils ongoing Garage Strategy. The shortlist of which sites will be developed starting in 2012/13 has not yet been drawn up.
Future house building plans beyond 2012/13 will be determined by whoever takes over as Mayor of Bristol following the forthcoming elections.