£1.8 million community housing investment allocated to West Norfolk

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
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Council chiefs have defended their plans for the use of up to £1.8 million of government funding for community housing.

Officials have been urged to use the money to build more council houses across West Norfolk in order to help meet an ongoing need.

But borough council leaders say the money will specifically target areas of high second home ownership.

A report to the authority’s ruling cabinet, which approved the proposed development of a delivery plan for the cash at a meeting on Tuesday, said around 4.5 per cent of homes in the borough are second homes.

But it added: “The majority of parishes with the highest levels of second homes, exceeding 30 per cent, are found in the north of the borough, reflecting the very large number of second homes in holiday areas by the coast.

“The Community Housing Fund allocation to West Norfolk is a significant, if not unique, opportunity for the council to address the issue of the impact of second homes to the benefit of our local communities.”

The funding allocated to West Norfolk is part of a £60 million pot which was announced by the government before Christmas and shared between almost 150 local authorities.

Around half of the cash has so far been given out and officials say the other half is dependant on the development of a “robust and credible” delivery plan that showed how the money would be used.

However, during public questions at last Thursday’s full council meeting, resident Jo Rust asked: “Why can’t you use the money to build more council homes rather than set up a programme with no perfmanent funding?”

Adrian Lawrence, the council’s cabinet member for housing and community, said they had to follow the guidelines which had been set by the government in order to confirm the original funding allocation.

He added: “This administration believes in making plans to make sure things will work.”