Building homes that people need: Council approves funding and land transfers
Shropshire Councillors have unanimously agreed funding and the transfer of land to enable Shropshire Council’s wholly-owned local housing company to start building homes that people want, need and can afford at meeting of Full Council today (Thursday 19 September 2019).
The company, named Cornovii Developments Limited*, was officially formed on 6 July 2019 to address unmet housing need and generate income for the council.
Today’s decision will mean that the council will loan the company £14 million and transfer the brownfield land it owns at Monkmoor in Shrewsbury and Ifton Heath in Oswestry to the company for development.
Both of these sites have been identified in the Company Business Plan for 2019–2020 which was approved at the cross-party councillors ‘Housing Supervisory Board’, set up to provide the ongoing operational oversight, strategic visioning and performance management of the company, at its inaugural meeting last week.
Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said:
“It’s an extremely exciting time for the company and we now look forward to taking these two sites forward.
“Shropshire currently has a housing waiting list of over 5,000 individuals and families. This, coupled with an ageing population who want to live independently for longer, and people wanting to live closer to where they work, point towards just some of the needs we are trying to meet.
“It is important that we bring forward more affordable houses to sustain our local towns and villages. We have land, and it makes sense that we use this initially to build high-quality and spacious homes that people want, need and can afford.
“It will also help us to shape places and use any income to build even more homes and deliver essential services. We intend to work closely with town councils, parish councils, Shropshire-based businesses and partners to ensure that we build the types of homes that are needed and help boost the local economy.”
Subject to planning approval, work could begin to build up to 100 two, three, and four bedroom family homes as early as Spring 2020.
“These two sites are only the beginning: the board will be considering a proposal to start feasibility studies to develop another site at their next meeting, and 48 more have also already been identified. It’s important that we keep the process moving.
“Some of the profit that the company makes will be used to buy land in future so that it can build homes in areas of our county that are unviable for private housebuilders.”
*The Cornovii were Celtic people of Iron Age and Roman Britain, who lived in Shropshire and other parts of the UK. It was this that provided inspiration for the chosen name.