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Ashford Earns National Recognition for Housing Delivery

Ashford Housing

Ashford Housing

Ashford Borough Council’s strength in delivering affordable housing has earned national recognition from the Government.

The authority has become the first in the South East to be awarded the prestigious status of being ‘Housing Business Ready’ under a tailored programme with the Housing Finance Institute (HFI) and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The status recognises Ashford’s ability to use assets and other resources to go much further than minimum requirements, and the way it works with private sector partners and provides local leadership, as well as the way it covers its statutory responsibilities to provide affordable housing.

Ashford’s proactive approach, successfully bidding for HCA funding and using the opportunities of Housing Revenue Account self-financing to continue and deliver its affordable homes building programme, were all acknowledged in the Elphicke-House Report in 2015.

The report also praised the council’s business acumen for setting up:

  • A Better Choice for Property Ltd, a company wholly-owned by the council that secures homes the council can then market at affordable rents, making revenue that the council spends on other service areas
  • ABC Lettings, a management service for private landlords which enables the council to proactively discharge its homelessness duty into the private sector
  • A remodelling programme of its traditional sheltered housing so it is dementia friendly
  • And additional borrowing capacity to fund a 21-home mixed tenure development in Charing

Housing minister Brandon Lewis MP said: “I hear that Ashford has been delivering housing across all tenures – new council homes, low-cost home ownership and HAPPI homes for older people – and has expressed a fierce ambition to do more in housing and for business growth. I look forward to Ashford delivering those homes and building business growth working with the HFI and supported by the LEP.”

Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson added: “We have demonstrated, over a prolonged period, that we excel in the delivery of affordable homes. Our corporate plan clearly states our strong political will to deliver quality housing and homes for all, and it is pleasing that our desire to support quality housing growth has been formally recognised in this way.”

Ashford’s house-building achievements were showcased by business leaders and council representatives last month at the HFI Celebrate event at the Guildhall in London, where the authority gave an inspiring presentation on housing delivery and how other councils could create housing opportunities.

Ashford Borough Council’s new Chief Executive, Tracey Kerly, who attended the event, said: “From the inception of the local authority new build programme we have been proactive in using sites within its ownership to build new affordable homes. Innovation is key to how Ashford Borough Council works and our creativity in finding new ways to deliver affordable housing speaks for itself.”

 For more information about Ashford visit www.ashfordfor.com

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