A council owned house building company is set to commit to developing up to 1,000 new homes in five years making it one of the most ambitious of its kind in the country.

Councillors on Basildon Council met to discuss proposals for the ambitious build programme at a meeting of the Housing Development Sub-Committee on 6 November.

Despite only being in existence for little more than five years Sempra Homes continues to grow in ambition and is now set to double previous development projections of 584 in five years.

Sempra has delivered 67 homes and is set to deliver a further 150 plus start on sites by December 2020. At present Sempra have 462 homes expected to be completed by 2023 and an ambition to deliver up to 1,000 by 2025. In addition to the Sempra Homes properties Basildon Council has its own development programme which currently stands to deliver around 200 additional social rent homes.

Leader of Basildon Council Councillor Gavin Callaghan said: "We're taking a Basildon first approach to housing and are thinking much bigger now in terms of delivery. We are clear that we must build more houses to help more people from Basildon get into a home of their own. The council is serious about delivering on that promise."

Chairman of the Housing Development Sub Committee Councillor Kerry Smith said: "We're building homes which meet the gap the council's housing waiting list doesn't meet. Our aim is to also reduce the numbers of people being pushed into the private rental market which has huge rents that put people in financial hardship."

Manager of Sempra Homes Melanie Keys added: "Through our shared ownership offer we're working alongside the government's Help to Buy scheme, enabling people to purchase a minimum of 25% of their home, which makes it a lot more affordable. We are one of only a few councils in the country to have investment partner status with Homes England which has secured us almost £3million in funding for 92 new homes."

ENDS

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Social value is also built into build contracts creating further benefits to communities and local people. The Roman Way development in Billericay, which delivered 15 homes, was built next to a secondary school. Throughout the duration of the build relationships were established between the school, Sempra and build contractor, Indecon Building Ltd. Regular site visits took place with construction students from the school, one of whom is now a successful apprentice working towards a Level 2 qualification in carpentry.

Published: Monday 11 November 2019