A report into the supply of affordable housing in Rugby borough has concluded that community-led land trusts and ‘rent now, buy later’ schemes could offer potential homeowners a boost.
The findings follow a motion approved by councillors last year looking at the feasibility of such options which could also see brownfield sites in urban areas become available for development.
At this week’s July 20 full council meeting of Rugby Borough Council, leader Cllr Seb Lowe (Con, Coton and Boughton) said there was an obvious need for more affordable homes.
He told the meeting: “We asked the executive director to research the feasibility of the modern ‘rent now, buy later’ option - in particular the RentPlus model - and to also look at brownfield sites which may be an attractive option for community-led land trusts and then to bring a report back to council. Well, this is the fulfillment of that obligation.
“There is broad cross-party consensus here on the need to deliver more affordable homes in the borough and there is a general recognition that the problem won’t be solved by a single magic bullet.”
The report concluded: “Both ‘rent now, buy later’ homes and community-led land trusts are potential vehicles for increasing affordable housing supply, albeit modestly. However, both opportunities do come with potential complications and do not meet the most pressing affordable housing need.
“That said, such opportunities in more challenging sites, in terms of affordable housing delivery, should be considered, along with the wider suite of affordable housing products.”
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Lib Dem, Paddox) suggested that the council’s joint venture company may wish to investigate the options.
And Cllr Neil Sandison (Lib Dem, Eastlands), who proposed the original motion back in November, added: “The reason why I originally brought the motion was that it was becoming clear that we were in a straight-jacket in terms of the types of tenure - social housing, shared ownership and owner occupation with nothing in between.
“Now there is a palette to choose from in terms of the social housing to be delivered and we have brownfield sites in the urban area which could potentially provide small self-build schemes for local community groups.”
Cllr Lowe said: “You are right, this is something that our joint venture company should be looking at. And Cllr Sandison you are correct, the more choice we can give our residents in terms of types of tenure, the better able we are to meet those needs. It is a pleasure to move the report.”