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Exclusive: Trio in talks on 'bespoke' housing deals

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Three councils have held the first talks in Whitehall over the bespoke deals for ambitious housebuilding plans offered in last month’s housing white paper.

Representatives of Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent city councils and Newark & Sherwood Homes - the arm’s length management organisation of Newark & Sherwood DC – met civil servants last week.

They said in a joint statement: “The government said in its housing white paper it would consider making deals with individual councils so that they can once again play an important role in housing delivery.”

It added: “We met with officials from DCLG last week and we look forward to continuing to discuss with government how we can turn this proposal into concrete actions that will back councils to build the much needed new homes the country needs.”

The Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of Almos have worked with the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy to develop ideas understood to include ways of increasing powers for councils to borrow for building.

The white paper said the deals could give chosen councils increased powers not generally available, but gave few details.

It said ministers were “interested in the scope for bespoke housing deals with authorities in high demand areas, which have a genuine ambition to build.

We will look seriously at any request from local authorities for government powers to be used to support delivery in their local area, and will be prepared to consider all the levers at our disposal to do so, so long as this results in genuinely additional housing being delivered.”


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