Barking and Dagenham Council agree shared-ownership housing scheme

Cllr Saima Ashraf, shadow housing minister John Healey, leader of the council Darren Rodwell and Cll

Cllr Saima Ashraf, shadow housing minister John Healey, leader of the council Darren Rodwell and Cllr Cameron Geddes - Credit: Archant

A six-week consultation on the council’s proposed shared ownership housing scheme will begin on Monday and could see the delivery of the first such scheme in the country.

Cabinet members agreed to launch the ‘Right to Invest’ initiative last night, pending the outcome of the consultation, which will allow council tenants to own up to 70 per cent of their homes.

Available to all tenants who meet the Right to Buy criteria, the scheme provides the chance to own a stake in a home, while the property remains a housing option for those on lower incomes.

Deputy council leader and cabinet member for housing Cllr Saima Ashraf said: “For the council tenants who aspire to be home-owners but do not qualify for Right to Buy, we are giving them something that has never been offered before, literally it’s hope.”

The initiative has already been endorsed by shadow housing minister John Healey, who described it as “groundbreaking” on a visit to Barking and Dagenham last week.

The first stand-alone shared-ownership development will deliver 27 homes – a mix of houses and maisonettes – at the Kingsbridge residential site at the southern end of the Gascoigne estate.

Wholly owned by the council’s housing company B&D Reside, the scheme has been allocated grant funding from the GLA Housing Zone agreement supporting council borrowing of £6.75million to fund the scheme.

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Cllr Ashraf added: “I would really encourage the residents of Gascoigne to really go for this, if they’re not willing to leave Gascoigne.”

Members also agreed plans to build 44 new one-bedroom flats in Barking, to be sold 20pc below the market rate.

The council will work with home ownership specialists, Pocket Living, to construct the homes on a vacant site bordering Gurdwara Way and Whiting Avenue.

“Despite the borough becoming a more popular place to live – it means these flats will be among the most affordable in London and they will be for local people,” added Cllr Ashraf.

A grant of £854,000 from the Greater London Authority will be spent on the project before it is handed over to the developers.