The city council’s ambition to build 200 new council homes in Norwich took a step closer on 10 June after cabinet members approved plans to redevelop the former depot site at Mile Cross.
Next steps include progressing to the planning application stage along with further work to estimate the cost of designing and delivering the homes.
At the same committee meeting, cabinet endorsed a report on the framework and blueprint for the city council’s approach to recovery, of both the council and the city, from the initial phase of Covid-19 crisis. Cabinet also recommended that council approves the blueprint and action plan.
The Covid-19 blueprint for recovery document identified eight themes and associated actions to guide the council and city through the 18-month recovery programme.
Providing new council homes falls within the ‘housing, regeneration and development’ theme – one of eight themes within the blueprint.
Gail Harris, deputy leader and cabinet member for social housing said: “The council’s housing strategy outlined a clear vision: to provide good quality, well maintained affordable homes to meet local housing needs within a safe, clean and well cared for neighbourhood.
“A seemingly simple aspiration but one which is difficult to achieve at the best of times, let alone while in the middle of a pandemic and all the difficulties that brings.
“These new homes will go some way towards our relentless effort to replace the 140 or so homes that are currently lost each year through the government’s Right to Buy scheme.”
A draft timetable of key actions for the site’s redevelopment was presented to cabinet, as follows:
- Consider options for a delivery route for council developments and report to cabinet with a recommendation (July 2020)
- Assess current information and if necessary undertake further ground investigations to assess the risk and cost to inform the foundation strategy (August 2020);
- Undertake further discussions with the GP surgery to assess this being included (August 2020)
- Prepare designs and undertake public consultation (February 2021)
- Submission of planning application (Spring 2021)
- Planning permission decision (Summer 2021)
- Final business case for development (Summer 2021)
- Start on site (Autumn 2021)
- Phased completion (June 2023-June 2024)
In 2018 the council began working on plans to redevelop the site – this involved demolishing the former depot that stood on the site as well as decontaminating it so it could be moved forward to the next stage of working up options for development.
The approved Norwich City Council Corporate Plan 2019-22 includes the corporate priorities: people living well; great neighbourhoods, housing and environment; inclusive economy. The provision of high quality new social housing cuts across each of these priorities and helps to deliver on the commitment to build and maintain a range of social housing.