The Welsh government has partnered with a membership body for housing professionals in an effort to help councils build more affordable housing in Wales.
The Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru has, along with the Welsh government, contracted the consultant Simon Inkson to support local authorities with a retained housing stock deliver new council homes at scale and pace.
The move aims to take advantage of what CIH Cymru describes as ‘timely advantages’, including the lifting of the HRA borrowing cap, the proposal to allow councils to access social housing grant and the possibilities that could be realised through modern methods of construction.
‘If we are to meet the ambition of ensuring everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home there can be no underestimating the role local authorities must play by using their borrowing powers and their expertise to deliver affordable homes,’ said CIH Cymru director Matt Dicks.
‘While there are different scenarios for how affordable housing is delivered across Wales, local authorities face the common challenge around resources to maintain high quality public services.
‘We know that maximising the availability of affordable homes can go a long way towards alleviating the pressures and improve outcomes felt across other areas – such as public protection, social services and education.’
Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James commented: ‘I have been very clear that my top priority is to deliver more social housing in Wales.
‘With the lifting of the borrowing cap there is a huge opportunity for councils to start building again at pace and scale. There is a lot to do to make this happen, and Simon will work closely with the eleven councils with housing stock to help them rise to the challenge.’
‘For the first time in a generation, local authorities have the opportunity to build homes to meet the housing needs of the communities they serve and I know that this is a prospect which excites both councillors and officers alike in the 11 authorities,’ said Mr Inkson.
‘Whilst we are at the very early stages of the project it is clear that a range of challenges face the 11 authorities in gearing up to building in substantial numbers, but I am confident that through shared learning, partnership working and collaboration these challenges can be effectively overcome.’