Council plans to build more homes in town

NEW council houses could be built on a Daventry estate if plans get the go-ahead tonight.

However, the Daventry District Council-owned homes will not be for social rent, but rather pitched at commercial rates to give an income to the authority.

Today (Thursday) the council will be asked to approve a plan to build 45 homes on a plot on Middlemore.

DDC would keep 32 homes in a council-run company and rent them out at commercial rates.

To meet its own planning regulations, DDC would also have to build 13 ‘affordable’ homes which will go to social landlords.

The idea is to invest money sitting in DDC’s accounts to earn some income from it.

The estimated cost is £3.5 million, but DDC says it predicts an income of £200,000 per year from rents.

Council leader Chris Millar said: “We have always been a fairly capital-rich authority, and until the last few years, that money provided us with an income.

“Now, as everyone knows, interest rates are appalling and you get next-to-nothing on your savings.

“It’s our job to maximise the benefits to the taxpayer of the money we have, and we see this as a way to invest our money and get a better return on it.

“It also provides extra housing for the district, which will help people looking for somewhere.”

DDC already owns the land for the homes, as it originally owned all the Middlemore land, selling it off to developers in parcels over time.

The council is also aiming for the new buildings to save water and cut energy useage by up to 44 per cent – making them cheaper to run for whoever moves into them.

Cllr Millar said: “We have to set up a council-run company to do this, otherwise if we did it ourselves we’d actually have to go and ask the permission of the secretary of state.

“Also it means the tenants won’t have the right to buy, like they would with a traditional council house. That means we have a guaranteed income from the rents.

“The homes could eventually be sold off by the council if housing prices recover, but I don’t see that happening in the near future.”

The council is also looking at redeveloping units on Morris Road, on Daventry’s Royal Oak industrial estate.