Tenants due to move into council’s first home of multiple occupancy in Bury St Edmunds
A council has been urged to move forward with plans to build more affordable housing - after tenants started moving into its first house of multiple occupancy.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council bought a five bedroom HMO, in Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds as part of its new commercial approach to reducing the costs of emergency housing.
The authority spent more than £200,000 on putting homeless households into bed and breakfasts in the 2013/14 financial year due to a lack of suitable accommodation.
The HMO, which cost £250,000 to buy and refurb, will be run by the Anglia Care Trust and its first tenants were due to move in this week.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for housing, said: “By placing residents in the Lake Avenue house instead of B&Bs, the property will effectively pay for itself in just five years while the savings will continue for decades to come.”
Following the move, some councillors have called for the authority to move forward with its West Suffolk Housing Strategy to meet a shortfall in affordable homes. The strategy included an option to set up a private company to build new homes.
Green Cllr Julia Wakelam said the council had to ‘bite the bullet’ and build and buy socially affordable homes.
Labour Cllr Diane Hind said more one and two bed affordable homes should be built. While supporting the idea of more affordable homes, Independent Cllr David Nettleton said the council should support housing associations through the planning process rather than being directly involved in house building.
Cllr Mildmay-White said they are continuing to explore options in the strategy and further proposals around the housing company will come forward in the Autumn.