Council to agree to form its own housing company in Northampton

The borough council's cabinet is set to agree to the formation of the company on Wednesday
The borough council's cabinet is set to agree to the formation of the company on Wednesday

A new council-owned housing development company is set to be created to build more homes in Northampton.

On Wednesday, Northampton Borough Council is set to approve the creation of its own non-charitable housing company that will ‘build homes for sale and rent, and speed up housing development’.

The principle of setting up such a development company (DevCo) was agreed by the borough’s cabinet back in July, and this week it will rubber stamp a £50,000 investment - from the council’s reserves - for start-up costs and producing a business plan.

Each housing scheme the company works on will require formal approval by cabinet, but Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) is set to act as the company’s development agent.

Cabinet papers say: “Northampton’s DevCo will enable the council to intervene more effectively in the local housing market – and to act commercially for a social purpose – in order to accelerate housing delivery and play a more influential role in place-shaping, regeneration, meeting housing demand and maximising the supply of new homes.”

Projects by the DevCo, which will be named Hamtune Homes Ltd after the Saxon name for Northampton, will usually have to meet one of four agreed 'priorities'. Housing schemes that enable the council to reduce homelessness and the use and cost of temporary accommodation will be given first priority.

Increasing the supply of affordable homes is the second priority for the company, which will also ‘cross-subsidise’ mixed housing developments and support housing schemes which can provide extra income to the council’s general fund.

Cabinet papers add that ‘funding for any development could be provided through borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) or from other financial institutions’.