Conservative Barnet Council to build first new council homes in decades

Government allowing councils greater freedom over how to spend housing income has made the plan to b

Government allowing councils greater freedom over how to spend housing income has made the plan to build council houses possible, says Barnet Council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Conservative-led Barnet Council has announced plans to build the first new council homes in the borough in decades.

The council announced its plan to build three new family homes in Alexandra Road, Muswell Hill, which falls in the borough’s Coppetts ward, as part of a £567,000 investment in social housing.

Cllr Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said: “Central government now gives councils greater freedom to spend our housing income as we think is wise so we can create these new family-sized homes along with a number of fully wheelchair accessible homes.

“They will, however, be very different from council housing as we have known it in the past.

“I don’t see that there will be large estates and we plan that council housing will be available to a family for a particular period in their lives.

“It won’t mean a house for life.”

The new homes will be built and managed by Barnet Council’s housing arm Barnet Homes and will include two four-bedroom properties and one three-bedroom house.

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The properties will be let on new five-year tenancies with the intention that tenants will move to a smaller property when their family has left home, releasing the house for another family.

The rent charged will also cover the financing cost for the properties.

“In the same way as the changes to tenancies that Barnet Council pioneered have become comparatively mainstream, I expect other councils to follow Barnet’s lead and to begin to use their new financial freedom to develop new council housing,” said Cllr Cornelius.

The announcement comes after recent criticism from Hornsey and Wood Green’s Liberal Democrat MP, Lynne Featherstone, of neighbouring Haringey Council for failing to build a single new council home for a “quarter of a century”.

Labour-led Haringey Council governs a large part of Muswell Hill.