Council homes set to return to Sunderland as authority looks to develop hundreds of homes for rent
Sunderland City Council is planning to become a landlord once again with its sights set on taking on more than 500 homes in the next five years.
It is aiming to invest £59 million in a range of affordable housing projects across the city, with the scheme to be put before its cabinet members next week as the next big step is taken towards turning the idea into a reality.
The Housing Delivery and Investment Plan includes a package of measures designed to meet the future needs of communities by providing 574 new affordable and supported homes by 2025.
If approved, it means it will be the first time new council housing is built on Wearside for around 40 years, with new bungalows and support accommodation high on the priority list, with a fresh push to be made on turning empty houses back into homes also in its sights.
It has said it is looking to build 117 new bungalows, provide 95 supported homes accommodation and bring 362 empty homes back into use.
It is hoped the first tenants can be welcomed by May this year, with local small to medium firms to be encouraged to join in the work.
Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: "There's a lot of fantastic work already going on in Sunderland with our registered provider partners to deliver a range of affordable housing projects, and there are more in the pipeline.
"But, we recognise that there is still a need to provide more affordable homes and bungalows for older people, to do more to tackle empty homes and to provide more appropriate accommodation for people who need support.
"That's why we have developed this five-year plan to help us plug the gaps in the areas of greatest need.
“We believe it could help us to make a real difference to people's lives and have a positive impact on communities across the city.
"As well as meeting local strategic housing needs, this also feeds into the wider City Plan, which is about creating the dynamic, healthy and vibrant city our residents deserve and have told us they want to see."
Sunderland's population is expected to grow from 277,000 to 286,000 by 2033.
Data also shows that the city's population is progressively ageing and has identified the need for more than 13,000 additional homes between 2015 and 2023.
The council says working to address these challenges, with a commitment to deliver 800 homes a year over the next 10 years, double the population of the city centre, and provide a good quality mix of housing types to meet current and future housing need, and those of the ageing population.
Coun Atkinson added: "One of our key commitments is delivering more and better housing.
“We also want more people living healthier for longer and more people able to enjoy independent lives, as well as feeling safe in their homes and neighbourhoods. This plan will help us deliver on all those things."
Cabinet meets at 2pm on Tuesday, February 11, at Sunderland Civic Centre.