Croydon Council is proposing to set up its own housing company to address the shortage of homes in the town across all tenures, including affordable housing.
The building of new homes has previously been financed by the council through its housing revenue account, or HRA. The council say that, due to government restrictions on the level of borrowing, the HRA is now at its borrowing limit, and that it will not be able to meet the housing demands of the town.
The supply of new homes needs to be dramatically increased to meet current and future demands for all types of housing in Croydon. Therefore, the council is proposing to set up a ‘wholly-owned housing company, which will give it more autonomy.
Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “Given the housing crisis in Croydon and the number of families needing a home to rent or buy, we have to explore every opportunity to boost supply.
“As a council we are committed to increasing housing supply across the borough and given the borrowing cap limiting the amount we can borrow to build new homes, we are keen to pursue other avenues such as the creation of a wholly-owned housing company.
“It would liberate the council from the government-imposed HRA borrowing cap and mean that we could work with partners or on our own to accelerate the building of homes for local residents.”
The council said it would also be able to build homes exempt from right-to-buy and have freedom to borrow more money.
When asked about the new proposal, Tracy Cullen, chief executive of Croydon Churches Housing Association, said:
“We are fully supportive of all new initiatives such as this one proposed by Croydon Council, which bring new social and affordable homes into Croydon to meet an ever increasing need.
We believe that the housing crisis will be addressed by the accumulation of many innovative schemes like this, as we become more adaptable to the changing environment.
This is a time to embrace partnership working in order to deliver the best possible results. We always support Croydon Council in their initiatives and would happily work with other housing associations in the area for the good of the residents of Croydon.”
This announcement comes in the same week that EastLondonLines published an exclusive interview with the Leader of Croydon Council, Tony Newman, who said he is demanded devolution of planning and development powers from Whitehall to local authorities.