City Council buys independence over council housing

Getting stuck in: (L-R) Shaun Porter, Commercial Manager at Lindum, with Council Leader Ric Metcalfe and Councillor Richard Coupland on the Wellington Street building site

The City of Lincoln Council has paid out £24 million to buy the independence to run all of its council homes by itself.

The City Council has been able to gain control over its housing stock due to changes in the way local authority housing is financed.

In the long-term, this could mean that more council houses would be built in Lincoln to keep up with the high demand.

At present, there are over 3,000 people on Lincoln’s waiting list for council housing, with some waiting almost five years before being able to get a house.

While rent is still set nationally, the council can keep more rental income from tenants, so more money can be invested back into housing.

However, in order to buy the independence, the council had to take on part of the debt associated with City Council homes — £24,931,000 worth.

In order to pay central government and gain independence, the council will borrow this sum from the Public Works Loan Board.

Leader of the City of Lincoln Council Ric Metcalfe said: “This is only a small start to demonstrate the seriousness of our intent and we are putting together large packages of land around the city and having a close look at our housing revenue account business plan to see what we are capable of delivering over the next few years.”

New housing underway

Meanwhile, the first five of planned new council homes are currently being built on Wellington Street in the west end of the city.

The houses, built by Lindum, will be three-storey buildings consisting of three bedrooms and a lower carbon footprint, due to solar panels, insulation and state of the art heating systems.

The houses should be ready for the first families to move in by Christmas.

Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Richard Coupland, said: “These houses are much-needed.

“With over 3000 people on the waiting list, every two or three bedroom house that goes on the bidding cycle has usually between 100 and 150 people bidding on one property alone, with some people waiting up to four and a half years.”