1. Heanor Town Centre

Green light given for 44 council homes in Derbyshire

Four separate schemes to provide affordable council housing have been given the green light by Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC).  

The plan, which reverses the council housing trend of the past few decades, could see up to 44 council homes become available for local residents.

Approval for the ambitious plan was given at a recent council cabinet meeting.

Funding of £8.96 million has been allocated over three years to pay for the new housing stock, but the move is expected to generate income in the long term.

The housing is set to be a mixture of newly built homes and refurbished existing properties.

David Arkle, head of housing and growth at AVBC, said: “As the council manages the housing register and delivers the homelessness prevention services, it is starkly aware of the pressing need to provide more accommodation for local people.  

“A capital programme of £8.96 million has been agreed and will be used flexibly over the next three years to optimise the delivery of affordable homes. 

He added: “The council is stepping forward to acquire affordable homes through a variety of mechanisms and will continue to work with partners to provide more affordable housing options.” 

Details of the current plan, of buying and/or building 44 properties for rent, are split into four schemes. These will include sites in Heanor, Alfreton, Kirk Langley and Swanwick. 

Councillor Chris Emmas-Williams, new leader of the council since elections in May, said he was “over the moon” following the approval of the homes. 

“We started working on this project in 2020 when we put a minute through the committee appealing for council houses, which were desperately needed,” he said.

“We are delighted to now pick up the project and will work hard to see it through. I can’t praise the staff here highly enough. They are just so enthusiastic.”

He added: “We could potentially create many more new council homes in our area in the future and will aim to do that as soon as possible.” 

The last council homes in Amber Valley were created in 1985, with the all-but-one of the stock then being sold off to Futures Housing, leaving the council with just a single direct housing tenant.

Cllr Emmas-Williams said that situation was now being reversed and residents could expect the council to “keep working hard and as fast as possible to follow these 44 homes up with more council houses.” 

In a Local Housing Needs Assessment commissioned by AVBC in April 2022 to inform the Local Plan from 2021 to 2039, research highlighted the need for both social and affordable housing in the area. 

It was documented that, following the resolutions of full council in March this year, in relation to the new Local Plan, the borough council said it remains committed to progressing the Local Plan through to adoption as soon as possible.