Billion-pound investment by Bristol City Council in council housing

Bristol City Council Houses

Proposals to invest a record £1.8 billion in council homes in the city have been unveiled by Bristol City Council, that could see more than 2,000 new council homes built in the next seven years.

The proposed investment forms part of a 30-year plan that was presented to the city’s Cabinet and represents the biggest proposed investment in council homes the city has seen in over a generation.

Proposals contained within the Housing Revenue Account business plan have been developed with the input of almost 1,500 local residents who responded to the city’s Big Housing Conversation last year.

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “We know we have a housing crisis in Bristol, and we want to be part of finding solutions.

“As part of our Big Housing Conversation we asked residents what they would like us to focus on. What we heard has helped shape our proposals for our 30-year Housing Revenue Account budget. We have been able to suggest how we should invest, based on what residents want. Thank you to over 1,470 people who took the time to give us their views.

“If our plans are approved, delivery of new council homes will be increased, through borrowing, to 2,069 over the next seven years. This will quadruple the current planned Housing Revenue Account development programme. The 30-year life of the plan will allow us to invest a total of £1.8billion in new council homes – something we know the city needs and wants.

“Two-thirds of those who took part in the consultation were supportive of us increasing rents to be able to invest more. Government policy currently allows us to increase rents for the next financial year by 4.1 per cent – this would be an average of £3.34 a week extra for residents. This extra income will allow us to invest more in our existing homes, providing an additional £80m for energy efficiency and carbon retrofitting measures by 2030 – to help us meet our ambitious climate change goals. This amount would bring committed funding to a total of £97m for energy efficiency and carbon retrofitting measures, in addition to the £42m that has been invested over the previous five years.

“Our plans also include £12.5m for a five-year bathroom replacement programme that will deliver over 5,500 modern new bathrooms in council homes by 2027, and an additional £8.7m over five years to improve standards in communal areas, blocks and estates. These are both investments residents of the city asked us to prioritise.”

The Housing Revenue Account Business Plan recommendations were endorsed by Cabinet on 18 January and will be presented to Full Council at their meeting on 15 February.