Council welcomes £12m housing stock investment as tenants face rent rise

A £12 million investment in social housing has been welcomed in Cannock Chase – but existing council house tenants are set to see their rent rise from April.

Social landlords were required by Government to reduce their rents by one per cent each year for four years from 2016 as part of measures to put welfare spending on a more sustainable footing.

Now social landlords, such as councils, are being allowed to increase rents.

Cannock Chase Council’s cabinet agreed a rent setting policy for 2021 at its meeting on Thursday.

Councillor John Kraujalis, cabinet member for housing, said: “Our rents can be seen as very low in comparison with local and national measures. As such we feel there is scope for a small increase.

“The extra revenue received will be used to increase the number of houses we intend to build, improve our existing stock and maintain our current homes. I’m proposing an increase of 1.5 per cent – an increase in rent ranging from 88p to £1.37 per week.”

Councillor Alan Pearson said “It has been held back for four years – I think a 1.5 per cent increase is very small. It will help us supply future properties.”

Councillor Christine Mitchell added: “One thing I have always been proud of is our housing stock and how we look after it. The money will go back into improving homes for people and building homes.

“It’s for the benefit of the tenants at the end of the day.”

First phase

Plans to invest even more funds in social housing in the district were described as good news by Councillor Kraujalis at Thursday’s meeting.

The £12.9 million first phase of the Housing Investment Fund programme has focused on building new social housing in the district. Projects include the construction of properties on land formerly part of the council’s Hawks Green depot in Cannock.

Another site at the former Aelfgar secondary school in Rugeley has been acquired for new housing and a planning application is in progress for council- owned land in Chadsmoor. Ultra-low energy buildings are set to be constructed on both of these sites as part of the council’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The £12 million second phase of the programme see the start of a retrofit scheme for existing housing stock as well as the continuation of new building.

Council leader George Adamson said: “This authority has waited a long time to see new social housing being built and the provision of a further £12 million to continue this programme, and commence making a start into achieving carbon neutrality, is most welcome.

“Tackling climate change is a key priority for the council and so it is especially pleasing to address this and to create much needed additional housing as part of this concerted approach.”

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