Council loan to ease demand for housing

Worthing Homes chief executive Jackie Bligh SUS-150421-121250001
Worthing Homes chief executive Jackie Bligh SUS-150421-121250001

WORTHING Borough Council has agreed a ‘unique’ £10million loan to a housing association to build much-needed affordable housing.

The authority has teamed up with Worthing Homes in a bid to cut a growing waiting list of more than 1,300 residents who require a new home.

The funding will be coupled with another £20 million loan secured by Worthing Homes, which will see around 100 properties built.

Director for communities John Mitchell said: “I am not aware of many, if any, examples of this type of partnership arrangement, which is great.

“Worthing Homes is a key social and affordable housing provider in the town, not simply because of its history but their local presence, size of their housing stock and of course they celebrated building their 1,000th property recently.”

The council’s loan, to be financed through borrowing, is conditional on the new homes being built within the borough.

According to a council report, the authority stands to receive a return of between £310,000 and £810,000, as well as reducing its significant house building targets.

Worthing Homes chief executive Jackie Bligh said: “We are a completely independent business but there are so many things that we do that complement each other and I think it makes sense that we have that relationship.

“We both have stretched resources and if we pool that together we can do even more.”

The loan received cross-party support at a meeting of full council last Tuesday.

Leader Dan Humphreys said: “This is one that I am really proud of. I know how desperate people are for affordable housing in this town.

“I’m delighted the council is able to support Worthing Homes.”

Liberal Democrat councillor for Tarring Bob Smytherman believed the strategy was the correct approach.

He said: “I’ve long been arguing we should be providing more social housing going back years in this chamber. The Lib-Dem administration actually set up Worthing Homes in the first place.

“We shouldn’t be going back to councils building homes, it should be the associations.”