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Second home Council Tax funds affordable housing

[Tuesday 23 May 2006]

AFFORDABLE housing is set to become available in yet another Northern Dales town as one of the latest developments prepares to take its first tenants.

Building site
Second home Council Tax funds affordable housing

The four houses in Topcliffe, near Thirsk, are the first of five developments across the Hambleton district to replace underused plots of land with 22 affordable homes.

The £480,000 scheme sees Hambleton District and North Yorkshire County Councils join forces with Broadacres Housing Association and the Housing Corporation to provide housing for local people.

At East Lea in Topcliffe two properties, with a limited life, sitting on a large plot of land were bulldozed and replaced with four new houses - two with three bedrooms and two with four bedrooms. And the tenants of the previous homes are moving back in after helping to choose some of the interior finishes.

The remaining four sites in Northallerton, Easingwold and Thirsk are being swapped for two and three bedroom houses. The homes will be allocated to local people who are on the Broadacres waiting list and are in need of housing.

The schemes are being funded using 'second homes' money, with the Housing Corporation and Broadacres providing match funding. The second homes money - which is administered by North Yorkshire County Council - is additional council tax payments on home owners who have a second home.

This scheme is an excellent example of what imaginative thinking and joint working between a number of agencies can deliver

John Carleton - Housing Corporation Field Director

The Government introduced the policy which allows local authorities to increase the payments from 50% to 90% as long as the extra income generated is earmarked for the provision of more affordable homes.

The Topcliffe scheme is the first to be completed using this 'second homes' money - and the first of 22 across North Yorkshire which will be funded in this way.

"This scheme is an excellent example of what imaginative thinking and joint working between a number of agencies can deliver," said Housing Corporation Field Director for the North, John Carleton.

"The result is much needed affordable housing in rural areas where people on low incomes struggle to afford such high quality housing."

Other affordable housing developments are currently underway in Richmond and Hawes.

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