Wisbech Nene regeneration project could be trading arm's first mission
I welcome the news that Fenland Council is to use its own reserves and borrowing to create a £25million fund to turn a profit through a newly-formed trading arm.
The Nene waterfront regeneration project in Wisbech could be its first mission. It could deliver 80-100 new houses and is already owned by the council.
With more than 2,500 couples, families, and single people on Fenland’s social housing waiting list, building council houses is a priority for this new LATCo (local authority trading company).
This Fenland LATCo should be modelled on the Norwich Regeneration Company (NRC), which was set up in 2015 by Norwich City Council as its own wholly-owned house-building outfit.
The NRC has built 100 homes on Norwich’s Goldsmith Street which are smart and modern, and highly energy-efficient.
They are not housing that fit into the murky class of ‘affordable’, or the multitude of ‘intermediate’ tenancies.
These are proper social housing, rented from the council with secure tenancies at fixed rents.
It is some of the most energy-efficient housing ever built in the UK, meeting exacting German Passivhaus standards – which translates into a 70 per cent reduction in fuel bills for tenants.
When Fenland’s new LATCo draws up its plans for the Nene waterfront it would do well to take a look at Norwich’s Goldsmith Street.