Berkshire

Plans for 1,000 new council homes in Reading to be debated

Plans to build up to 1,000 new council homes in Reading over the next 30 years are to be considered.

The borough council wants to invest in its existing housing stock and build new homes across the town.

It follows government changes to council housing finance policy in 2012, which mean local authorities can now keep income from council home rents.

The council's policy committee will discuss the plans on 22 September.

'Housing crisis'

If the proposals are approved, work will begin immediately on planning the first phase of development.

This potentially includes building about 100 homes across Reading, with more than 40 specifically at a site at Conwy Close.

Richard Davies, lead council member for housing, said: "This important programme aims to alleviate what I have publicly called Reading's housing crisis, whereby thousands of households are in housing need and homelessness is rising steeply.

"Despite our improving economy, many people are in danger of being left behind because of spiralling rental prices and the high cost of living."

The council currently owns land with potential for 300 new homes but would need to acquire land for the remainder of the homes on the open market.

Funding for the programme of improvements and new building will come from borrowing against future rental income, paid back by income from rents, the council said.

There will also be a range of funding, including receipts, from council houses sold under Right to Buy legislation.

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