12th Aug, 2020

Plans voted through to develop former Bromsgrove Council House 'will provide much-needed affordable housing'

THE REDEVELOPMENT of Bromsgrove’s former Council House on Burcot Lane has moved a step closer after members voted through plans for more low-cost housing.

Conservative and independent councillors gave the scheme the green light at the last full council meeting.

Bromsgrove District Council has bid for funding for the site from Homes England as part of the new Local Authority Accelerated Construction Programme which allows local authorities to secure cash and speed up construction on sites they own by working in partnership with developers.

It means new housing can be built quicker, using innovative methods.

The new development mooted for Burcot Lane will feature market housing, social housing, and rented accommodation which should be affordable for the people of Bromsgrove.

Bromsgrove District Council’s deputy leader Coun Karen May outlined problems facing residents in the district because of a lack of affordable hosuing when she presented her economic development plan.

Coun Kit Taylor said: “The overarching principle of this is to provide houses that are affordable for the people of Bromsgrove.”

Coun Brian Cooper, portfolio holder for economic development, added: “This is not a panacea for solving the problems of housing across the district, but the new units that we can build at Burcot Lane are the start of the process.

“It was excellent to see the backing for this from the Independent councillors and we can look forward to a bright future for Burcot Lane.”

Council leader Geoff Denaro said: “This is an excellent step forward, and I look forward to working with Homes England to build more houses for the residents of the town, improve the environment around the Burcot Lane site, and continue working on our long-term plan to supply more homes and infrastructure for the district.

“This is great news for Bromsgrove, I would like to thank my Independent colleagues for supporting the plans.

He criticised the local Labour councillors, accusing them of ‘voting down a plan to provide more affordable housing’.

“We will not solve the housing problem tomorrow, however the redevelopment of Burcot Lane is an excellent start to addressing our housing needs,” added Coun Denaro.

But Bromsgrove Labour leader Coun Michael Thompson hit back and said he and his colleagues felt this was not the best way forward to get the district the affordable housing it needed.

“We tabled a motion in the past about borrowing money from the Government to build council housing and the Conservatives voted that down at the time.

“This housing company will be only building affordable housing on one site and we feel it would be much better if the council increased the minimum amount of affordable housing it asked for on each new development, for example the Polymerlatex site, which would eclipse the number being constructed here.

“We also feel it would be better to sell this land to Bromsgrove District Housing Trust and let BDHT build the social housing.

“We want affordable housing but don’t feel this is the best way of going about it.”

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