Council to buy two-bed property to house homeless
PUBLISHED: 16:45 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:45 06 July 2020
A Norfolk council has agreed to buy a fourth property with £600,000 set aside to house homeless residents.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) allocated £610,000 in its budget to buy its own stock of accommodation to house homeless residents in the district.
The council has so far spent £418,435 on three properties - a two-bed bungalow and a two-bed flat in North Walsham, and a one-bed flat in Hempton.
And councillors have now voted in favour of purchasing one final property with the chunk of cash - a two-bed North Walsham house.
The council has not revealed the price of the property, but a report published ahead of the buy states that the council has £191,565 remaining, and that “purchase of this fourth property will leave just under £20,000”.
The remaining cash is “clearly insufficient to purchase further properties” and may be set aside for repairs and improvements.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet, Andrew Brown, portfolio holder for housing and planning, said: “We have statutory duties to provide accommodation for homeless people and we need to minimise the expenditure to third parties, placing people in bed and breakfasts and the like.
“There was £610,000 allowed in the budget. We’ve managed to spread that out to cover four properties. The purchase price is above the threshold of £100,000.”
He added: “The property is in an extremely good location and more or less already in a lettable state.”
But John Rest, leader of the council’s independent group, said the council should take account of the government’s announcement of the relaxation of stamp duty.READ MORE: Council spends £117k on homeless housing amid fears over end to support
“There is a proposal to suspend stamp duty on property,” he said.
“This is worth investigating when that comes into force.
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“The stamp duty will come in at about £500,000 - if the stamp duty is going to be relaxed before we purchase this, it’s a saving for us.”
Council leader Sarah Butikofer said the council was “happy to investigate” and added: “Clearly it’s public money and any savings we can make we will.”
Mr Brown added: “There is more than one property owned by the council. The purchase is subject to a 3pc second property charge in addition to stamp duty collection on the purchase price.”
“That’s why it seems high.”
Councillors voted unanimously to agree to the property purchase.
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