The first of a new wave of council houses in Bath and North East Somerset could be built by 2021.
Another 70 homes could be constructed on land owned by the local authority within the next five years, a report suggests.
It says there is also an “unquantified potential to access further land” from future sites which could be repurposed or released for redevelopment, assets which could be sold off, and projects backed by grant funding.
Papers for the first meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s new climate emergency and sustainability policy development and scrutiny panel say: “Cabinet have informally expressed a clear ambition to deliver a council house building programme to support and complement the existing affordable housing programme.
“This report provides the panel with an update on the programme plan. It also seeks the panel’s view on the broad principle of developing a council housing programme and how panel would like to be involved in the process.”
B&NES Council transferred its affordable housing stock to what is now Curo in 1999 because, at the time, the housing association was more able to borrow money.
Since then, affordable homes have typically been secured through deals with developers, schemes by registered providers and other projects commissioned by the council.
The report says over the past eight years the council has delivered 1,582 affordable homes – 73 per cent for rent and the others for intermediate/affordable home ownership.
It says: “Cabinet want to build upon and enhance this success with a council house building programme.
“In this context, council housing means affordable homes that are directly delivered by the council and with the council having control over the management of the homes.
“It is important to note that this would support and complement the current affordable housing programme, rather than replace it.”
The aims are to increase the delivery of affordable housing and having greater control over them, including design and environmental standards, rent, allocations and management.
Officers say 35 to 70 houses could be built on land owned by the council within the next five years, with the first expected in 2021.
They urged caution, however: “It is also important to note that whilst affordable housing will usually generate a revenue stream this is unlikely to be sufficient to fully cover the costs associated with the development and construction of the homes, voids, management, maintenance and bad debt.
“As such affordable housing generally requires significant public subsidy.
“The financial modelling will aim to identify the public subsidy requirement and the potential to secure Homes England affordable grant or alternative funding to offset this financial gap.”
The panel will meet on Monday, 30th September.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter