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First council houses to be built in BANES for two decades

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

A proposal to build 58 council houses in eight locations around Bath and North East Somerset was passed with unanimous support at the Council Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Councillor Tom Davies, Cabinet Member for Adults and Council House Building, said:

Never has the need for new council houses been so great. As an area with some of the least affordable housing in the country, thousands of our residents are currently on our social housing waiting list, hundreds of them in the category of highest need...
The scale of the need means it is vital that the council now plays a new role and takes on a new responsibility of directly delivering and owning general needs council houses for social rent for our residents.

Councillor Davies indicated that this was the first phase of council house building and that over the coming months, the council would be putting together plans to build hundreds more council houses over future years. The Liberal Democrat administration holds strong ambitions to deliver in this area of need he said.

With the exception of a large council-owned property at 117 Newbridge Hill, the proposed locations where the 58 council houses will be built have not been disclosed. This has to do with reasons of "commercial confidentiality" Councillor Davies said, but he gave an assurance that any councillor wishing to see the list of sites could do so by contacting the head of housing. He thanked councillors Tim Ball and Richard Samuel for their help and support in this endeavour.

Most homes in the Twerton Ward were built in the postwar era when council house programmes were in full swing

Bob Goodman, a former Conservative councillor and Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods, used Questions from the Public to speak on the plans. Mr Goodman commended the council for considering building council houses. However, he claimed that the project had been put into disrepute by using the council's Aequus development company whose senior staff are on "huge salaries". Mr Goodman also expressed his suspicion that one of the locations earmarked for the housing was Tufa Field - a site of special natural interest. Earlier this year, the council facing public pressure had withdrawn plans to build here.

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