Southend Council kick-starts social housing programme

Southend City Council has unveiled sites earmarked for development or sale in a bid to cut its 1,213 housing waiting list.

The former futures college in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend will provide 56 homes – a mix of six one-bed, 13 two-bed, 25 three-bed and 12 four-bed homes.

The scheme will provide 17 (30 per cent) of affordable homes.

All the homes will be sold by the council to “maximise the financial return for the council” and provide revenue to build affordable homes in the city.

An “underutilised” car park in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff is also set for development. The council wants to build six traditional homes, four two-bedroom and two three bedroom council homes. Alternatively, the council may opt to build eight single occupancy “modern methods of construction pods”.

A vacant plot of land in Victoria Avenue, once included in the Roots Hall redevelopment, is to be sold to a developer.

The Thorpedene campus in Shoebury, which includes Delaware House, and a site in Shorefield Gardens in Westcliff, will also fund further house building in the city.

A large home in Satanita Road, Westcliff will be refurbished to help with a need for large family rental homes.

Social housing projects already underway include two in Eagle Way Shoebury, which will deliver 28 new council homes, and Lundy Close in Southend is earmarked for five council houses and four flats.

Sites ripe for social housing development

Thirty eco-homes are set to be built on the site of a former cattery close to the A127 in Westcliff as part of a £12million scheme, it has been revealed.

Southend City Council is preparing to transform the site as part of its eco-homes scheme that will be so efficient the energy costs will be minimal for residents once they are built.

The homes will be built on the former cattery, in Prince Avenue, close to the Tesco roundabout, and will feature range of energy-saving features.

Once built, the 14 two-bedroom, eight three-bedroom and eight four-bedroom homes will be rented out at affordable rents.

The homes will follow the model of the council’s award winning eco-home in Juniper Road, Leigh, which boasts energy and water-saving measures to keep bills down and help the environment.

Feature include triple-glazed windows, ventilation, solar panels, and sustainable drainage outside the property with a “drought-resistant” garden.

Daniel Cowan, leader of the council, said: “This is a great opportunity for the council to deliver much-needed council homes and to build on the success of our award-winning eco-home.”

The yearly rental income from the homes on the former cattery will be about £380,000, meaning the project will be repaid within 32 years.

It will be funded from Right to Buy receipts and HRA reserves.

The plans for Prince Avenue are part of the council’s plan to build dozens of homes to tackle the 1,213 strong waiting list.

So far, six sites have been identified to build new homes, althought the “rolling project” will see more sites identified.

Anne Jones, Labour councillor responsible for planning and housing, said: “There’s a lot in development at the moment. The council has to use its land in the best way possible. The pipeline is still running and the acquisitions programme. There’s a lot of work going on with South Essex Homes to bring voids back into use.”

Cllr Jones said the programme was a rolling one, with homes built as plots are sold or developed.

She added: “The policy is to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from developing more homes. The acquisitions programme, which is purchasing properties, that’s bound by estate agents and solicitors, but there is one set to go at the moment and one in hand.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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