Newham Council has launched a new housing strategy that includes a £96m, three-year council homes maintenance programme.
The strategy, which covers the period from 2021 until 2025, was agreed by Newham Council’s Cabinet earlier this week and sets out how the local authority plans to tackle a number of issues including homelessness and the climate emergency.
Included in the plans is a £96m stock investment programme, which will be carried out over three years and will begin with a comprehensive stock condition survey.
Homes will be repaired and refurbished “with the highest levels of safety and sustainability principles applied”, the council said.
The strategy also commits to “ramping up direct council building of affordable housing and other housing products”.
The council said it is on track to beat its previously set target of starting 1,000 new council homes by 2022, with the expectation that it will have started 1,782 homes by next year, of which 1,056 will be for social rent.
Of the 1,782 planned starts, 1,085 are being delivered by Newham Council’s in-house delivery team and 697 are being delivered by Populo Living, the housing company wholly-owned by the council.
The council, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country, has also laid out plans to invest more than £3m in a new homelessness assessment and shelter facility.
An updated homelessness strategy will be delivered by the council in December this year.
In terms of climate change, the council has said it will review its local plan “to ensure the highest possible environmental standards from new development” and “will agree a set of minimum standards for energy efficiency” when the council is the developer.
The strategy also reconfirmed plans by Populo Living to begin developing modular homes on the rooftops of existing council buildings, in a move that could see hundreds of new homes delivered.
Rokhsana Fiaz, mayor of Newham, said: “This is an unashamedly ambitious plan to deliver thousands more homes and provide the housing security that our residents urgently need.
“At the heart of our new housing strategy is the right to access good quality, genuinely affordable council homes. Highlighting how we are beating our target of breaking ground on 1,000 new council homes by next year, the strategy sets out 11 core principles that will deliver even more new social rent homes for our people across all our neighbourhoods, with residents fully involved.
“From setting strong commitments in response to the climate emergency, to protecting renters’ rights, I want Newham residents to know that the council is here to support them and that we are on their side. We are investing over a billion pounds to deliver the much-needed homes our residents can afford.”
Shaban Mohammed, cabinet member for housing services, said: “Our strategy will improve our existing council homes, ensure all our current properties are fit for purpose and deliver more environmentally friendly [homes] so our residents have the homes they rightly deserve.
“We will do all we can to prevent and alleviate homelessness with investment in a new centre of excellence to support those who experience street homelessness. Crucially, we will be working with all partners to avoid a potential tsunami of evictions as a result of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
“Newham has a bright future and we are working together with residents to improve and invest in the neighbourhoods that they are proud to call home. This strategy will help us deliver these promises.”
Already have an account? Click here to manage your newsletters