Mansfield council says new homes will replace properties sold through Right to Buy scheme

More than a dozen council homes in Mansfield have not been replaced after being sold through the Government's Right to Buy scheme last year, figures show.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:40 pm

Housing charity Shelter has said that the Right to Buy programme, which was introduced in 1980 to help council and housing association tenants buy their home at a discount, has ‘torn a hole’ in the national social housing supply and they have warned that the government must act to avoid deepening the housing crisis.

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reveals that 24 council homes were privatised through Right to Buy by Mansfield District Council last year.

Councils are expected to replace these homes on a one-for-one basis, but it acquired or began construction on just 10 replacements in 2020.

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The new modular homes on Rosemary Avenue are nearing completion, with planning permission being sought for further developments throughout the district.

Jill Finnesey, head of housing at the council, says that although the figures are accurate, a total of 117 homes are currently in the pipeline throughout the district which would replace the homes sold and increase the availability further.

She said: “The figure of 24 properties sold under the scheme last year is correct, however there are actually 117 affordable council homes for rent in the pipeline for Mansfield district.

"This includes 22 homes at Bellamy Road and 77 dwellings at Centenary Road – both schemes have been approved by the council but are subject to planning permission being granted.

"Ten homes at Rosemary Avenue are due to be completed shortly."

Affordable housing is also delivered through the planning process in the form of Section 106 agreements with private developers – which helps to offset any lost through the Right to Buy scheme.

Twenty-one affordable units for rent or for sale were provided in 2020/21, along with £428,672.94 received in off-site Affordable Housing Contributions.

"In addition, a further 59 affordable on-site units have been secured – but not yet delivered – along with £625,000 in contributions through S106 Agreements entered into with private developers in 2020/21” she added.

“The money received through contributions goes towards the council’s own affordable housing schemes.”

Homelessness and housing charity Shelter said the pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis and there could not be a worse time to endanger the supply of affordable social homes.

Chief executive for Shelter, Polly Neate, said: “Right to Buy has torn a hole into our social housing supply that has not been plugged.

"The Government has failed to replace the homes sold through Right to Buy with new social housing.

"As we look towards our post-pandemic recovery, the Government must build the new generation of social homes that people and families desperately need.”

An MHCLG spokeswoman said: “Right to Buy has helped nearly two million council tenants become homeowners, and the Government is investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over five years.

“We’ve made it easier for councils to fund new homes to replace the ones they’ve sold as well as giving them greater flexibility over the types of homes they provide to reflect the needs of their communities."

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