The Government has announced that councils will receive windfall payments for every new home they build while Housing Minister Grant Shapps revealed that home building was at its lowest level since the 1920’s.
The ‘New Homes Bonus’ scheme means the government will match the council tax raised on each new house for six years.
Currently in Eastleigh there are over 5000 people on the housing register and the future of the proposed 6000 home development at hedge end/Botley – fiercely resisted by local residents – remains in the balance as the council await the publication of a feasibility study.
With the average council tax in Eastleigh for a Band D property standing at £1400 a year ,the new ‘Double your Money’ scheme would mean that a 6000 house development would earn the council more than £50 million over the six period of the scheme.
That’s enough to repay the £50 million worth of borrowing for capital projects like the £32 million Rose Bowl Hotel project.
The opposition minster for housing Jim Healy described the scheme as ‘a con’ but Grant shapps told theBBC:
“We think this top-down system which pitted communities against developers meant they spent loads of time in court and at planning appeals. We think that’s crazy.
“And a better system is to get people actually saying there’s something in it for our area – we can have a new swimming pool, or town centre, or something that we want in our area if we allow some house building to go ahead. That rebalances the argument and we believe they will build more homes”.
I nipped out to bag photo of some local house building – and couldn’t find any – so I’ve used a stock photo. It was going on everywhere 18 months ago. Anything happening near you?