Southend Council buys 13 homes for council housing with more on the way

Thirteen homes have been purchased by Southend Council and nine more are under offer as the new administration moves to reduce the number of families languishing on the housing waiting list.

The council is investing £5.3million into buying up private properties and converting them into council houses, with some expected to be available to families before Christmas.

Buying up the houses is the first step in a push from council leader Councillor Ian Gilbert to tackled Southend severe housing shortage which has left 1,472 people on the housing waiting list, including around 300 children.

In total the council is expected to buy 22 new homes of varying sizes including a one-bed flat, two two-bed flats, seven two-bed houses, ten three-bed houses and a single four-bed house.

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “I am delighted to see the speed and progress that is being made on this vital project to provide more affordable council housing across the borough.

“As a joint administration we promised to provide new social housing and key worker housing as a priority, and we are already delivering on that.

“If all nine homes under offer go through, in a short space of time, we will have invested over £5m and added 22 new homes to our council housing stock.

“Most pleasing though is the fact that we have already identified some local families in temporary accommodation who will be in a position to move into their new homes before Christmas.”

Of the £5.3million being invested in housing 30 per cent is from right to buy receipts, which is the money the council receives from council tenants who choose to purchase the property they are living in.

The council envisages this as being a “revolving investment fund” whereby the money earned through the renting out the new homes will help to finance a range of other housing projects, including building more council homes and potentially buy more properties.

The plan will be discussed further by council leaders during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter