A Somerset Council unveils first social housing plan in 20 years

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MENDIP District Council in Somerset has unveiled plans to provide much-needed social housing across the district.

The scheme, the first for two decades, promises to create jobs, boost skills and the local economy, while leaving a lasting legacy of social homes offering fair rents for residents.

The Council has looked at Mendip-owned sites and identified numerous potential plots.

Five of these could be shovel-ready within months.

Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, commented on the announcement: “I feel this is something to really celebrate here.

“Mendip is moving forward on social housing provision after a 20-year gap, and we promise to deliver, to meet the urgent need.”

At a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on 6 July, members voted unanimously for viability work to be undertaken, with immediate effect.

The Council will work with a Registered Provider during the first stages.

As the programme progresses there will be engagement with City, Town and Parish Councils, plus organisations such as Community Land Trusts, to achieve the best for Mendip.

According to the Council, the scheme is in line with their core objectives, in particular to Make Mendip a fairer place.

It has ambition to create homes with higher sustainability standards too, so will contribute to the Council’s priority to Deliver on our climate and ecological commitment.

Cllr Liz Leyshon, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Projects, added: “What we have here is a statement of intent to build social rental housing.

“There will obviously be consultation on the sites, as and when they come forward.

“The whole point of doing the viability work, is to find out whether or not a parcel of land is appropriate, and that’s what we want to get on with. Pronto.

“It’s time for us to step up and commit to providing residents with homes at decent, manageable rents – homes which are in extremely short supply.

“In so doing, we’ll contribute to the local recovery through building and jobs, and we’ll honour our own commitment to climate action.”

Detailed proposals of specific sites will be brought forward later this year.