Somerset

Taunton Deane borough to build new council houses

A borough in Somerset is to draw up plans to build new council houses for the first time in 20 years.

Taunton Deane Borough Council is due to take control of the £21m annual rental income from the 6,000 homes it owns next month.

It used to have to give a third to the government but is now borrowing £85m to buy its way out of the system, allowing it keep all the rental money.

Councillor Jean Adkins said: "It's a better deal for our tenants."

Conservative Mrs Adkins, who holds the housing services portfolio for the Tory-run council, said it was borrowing £85m from the Public Works Loan Board and was due to learn the interest rate this week.

She said the sum was a notional portion towards the government's national housing debt.

She said the authority would set aside £300,000 in the next year to decide the types of homes that were needed, identify potential sites and implement a delivery team.

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