Affordable housing built by the council’s controversial housing developer has sat virtually empty since January, The Chronicle can reveal.
As Brick By Brick forges ahead with more contentious planning applications, to build on council owned sites only ONE of the 24 shared ownership homes, being marketed for £315,000, is being lived in at one of its flagship developments – Flora Court .
The 27 flat complex in Chipstead Avenue was the first BbB property to be completed providing affordable homes in the midst of a housing crisis. It includes three for residents on the council housing list who moved in to their one bedroom flats in December.
Meanwhile the council which is in £1.5 million debt and facing cuts to staff has agreed to spend £30.8 million to buy 165 new council homes from BbB partly funded by Right to Buy receipts and a grant from the Mayor of London. However many of the BbB sites were originally publicly owned and sold in some cases for £1. In the case of Flora Court, the former care home was sold to BbB for £18,000.
The 165 homes will be let at council rent levels to those in need on the council housing waiting list or to move residents out of emergency or temporary accommodation.
BbB expects to be complete round 500 homes every year. It is awaiting the decision of an application to turn garages, and green space behind Atlanta Court at 65 Parchmore Road, in to 20 one and two bed flats for council rent which has received 13 objections. In neighbouring Selhurst 200 residents have signed a petition against a proposed 12-storey block for 89 homes on the site of garages and pram sheds in Holmesdale Road. Last week councillors agreed to build on green space opposite Norbury Grove.
BbB was created by the council in 2015 to build over 2,000 homes with profits reinvested in the borough. To do this it has borrowed £200million from the council which it has to, repay in full, with interest, at the end of the development of each site.
However, the developer was forced to suspend all sales of its homes, which offer stylish living with striking interiors and come with private balconies or garden spaces, after it emerged lenders would not provide mortgages under shared ownership schemes on its properties because the company was not a ‘registered provider’ Anyone buying a 25 per cent share in one of these flats has to pay £78,750 and put down a five per cent deposit of £3,688.
A BbB spokeswoman said: “We have already had our first affordable rent and shared ownership residents move in to Flora Court and we are currently investigating options to allow more prospective residents to access shared ownership mortgages. We hope to be making some announcements on this very shortly. In the meantime, our experienced sales team is actively working with any prospective purchasers on a one-to-one basis.”
In a statement on the sale of the165 BbB homes to the council, it said as a shareholder and funder Croydon recovers additional value: “With over 5,700 people on the housing waiting list, and over 2,200 living in temporary accommodation at a cost of over £27m per annum, this purchase enables a very significant saving.”