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New social housing plans

Publication date:

An unexpected opportunity to create new social housing at a disused garage site in Harpenden is to be taken up.

St Albans City and District Council had drawn up plans to redevelop its land at Noke Shot, Batford.

A narrow access road meant that it was only possible to get permission to build three homes on the site.

For the development to be financially viable, the properties were to be sold at market value to private buyers. The income to the Council would have gone to fund social housing elsewhere.

However, the owner of a house and land near the access road has now indicated they are willing to sell to the Council.

Moreover, another property bordering the site has become available to buy, potentially allowing for it and adjoining Council-owned land to be added to the site.

These buying opportunities follow approaches to the owners by the Council which has been looking to expand the development.

An update on progress was given to a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 20 June.

Cabinet instructed officers try to acquire the newly-available land and draw up plans for a larger development that will prioritise social housing.

There would be room for a small number of social housing properties for rent on the enlarged site.

Councillor Robert Donald, Portfolio Holder for Property, Commercial and Development, said:

The creation of new social housing is one of our administration’s top priorities.

There were concerns that this was not financially viable at Noke Shot, but that will not be the case if we can acquire the new land that has become available on the borders of the site.

“This is an opportunity that we are determined to grasp, and we are now revising our plans for Noke Shot with the intention of creating much-needed social housing at affordable rents for the community.

Councillor Jacqui Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Inclusion and Protection, said:

There is a huge demand for social housing in the District as is shown by the fact we currently have 725 households on our social housing register.

These are people who have demonstrated that they have strong local connections as well as a need for housing at affordable rents.

Our decision to maximise the amount of social housing on the Noke Shot site shows our commitment to providing an appropriate mix of housing in the District, catering for the different needs of our residents.

Councillor contact:
Councillor Robert Donald,
Portfolio Holder for Property,
Commercial and Development
Tel: 01727 841647.

Councillor Jacqui Taylor,
Portfolio Holder for Housing,
Inclusion and Protection
Tel: 07971 906343.

Contact for the media: 
John McJannet,
Principal Communications Officer
Tel: 01727 819533