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Council’s £6m affordable housing loan fund

Affordable housing under construction in Kendal

[A] new £6 million loan fund could help to build more affordable homes across South Lakeland.

The money would enable housing associations to finance new developments and help South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) to achieve its strategic targets for providing homes to meet local need.

The creation of a loan fund, which is to be considered at next week’s Cabinet, follows a council-commissioned study which has identified the need for more creative approaches to delivering affordable housing.

If agreed, SLDC would initially allocate a maximum of £6 million to the loan fund, from existing and projected housing resources.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “The loan facility would allow housing associations to access low interest rate finance from the council, removing an obstacle which may be preventing them from developing more affordable housing in the area.

“The council would receive a financial return from the repayment of the loans and also be fulfilling our pledge to work with partners to deliver the new affordable homes which our communities need.”

SLDC is on target to assist in the creation of a minimum 1,000 new affordable homes for rent by 2025.

A recent Strategic Housing Market Assessment concluded that up to 320 new homes need to be built every year across South Lakeland, of which up to 290 new properties are required annually in SLDC’s planning area outside the Lake District National Park.

Cllr Brook added: “There is no doubt that there is a continuing high need for affordable housing in this district. Around 60% of affordable housing is delivered by housing associations, most of which require some financial help or support.

“A new loan facility, which would allow housing associations to draw down on a scheme by scheme basis, should accelerate the delivery of more homes which our communities need.”

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