More peninsula homes included in housing revenue plan

By Paul Smith

22nd Jun 2022 | Local News

Housing plan unveiled
Housing plan unveiled

Babergh's new Housing Revenue (HRA) 30-year business plan, setting out the long-term priorities, plans and actions for council housing., has been revealed

Babergh already maintains more than 4,000 council properties for tenants within its council stock, but demand continues to outstrip social housing availability, with a further 798 households on the waiting list for Babergh.

The proposed business plans outline how the councils will invest more than £30m in improving existing homes to ensure they are energy efficient – supporting the councils' commitment to tackle climate change – as well as building new homes to offer a range of good quality, affordable social housing for residents across the districts. 

Independent Conservative Jan Osborne with key for new social housing in Brantham (Picture credit: Nub News)

If approved, the seven key priorities for council housing over the next five years will be:

1.          Tackling and adapting to climate change

•          investing in council homes to improve their overall energy efficiency, helping the environment, and reducing tenants' energy costs

•           ensuring that each property possible has a minimum an energy efficient C rating by 2030 through a £30m retrofit programme (£16m in Babergh and £14.5m in Mid Suffolk). 

2.          Developing new council housing

•           aiming to build/acquire 65 new homes in each district per year, for each of the next six years. 

3.          Investing in current homes

•           improving the quality of existing homes and communal areas. 

4.          Involving tenants in the running of the housing service

•           putting tenants being at the heart of decision-making and ensuring they have a say in shaping housing provision and the service they receive. 

5.          Improving services for tenants

•           learning from every complaint and aiming to exceed the new Regulatory Framework and Standards.

6.          Improving the neighbourhoods that we manage

•           improving existing parking provision, including EV charging

•            and improving the quality of estates through the development of a neighbourhoods strategy. 

7.          Implementing digital transformation

•           building tenants' digital skills and ability and using digital tools to put information at tenants' fingertips whenever they need it. 

Independent Conservative Jan Osborne

Independent Conservative Jan Osborne, Babergh's cabinet member for housing, said: "Ultimately, this is about our ability to provide safe, affordable, and decent homes, which support people's quality of life. 

"We also need to ensure that our council housing is sustainable and meets the needs for today and for future generations.

"Ensuring we have a robust and financially sustainable plan to deliver this has become ever more crucial since government's reform of the rules governing local authority housing finance and the introduction of the self-financing system a decade ago."  

As well as looking at predicted income and expenditure, the plans also incorporate feedback from hundreds of existing tenants – from consultations carried out during 2021 and 2022. 

The plan was noted by Babergh councillors at their full council meeting last night ahead of a decision being made by the cabinet in July.

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