Bristol to build first council houses in 30 years
Council houses are to be built in Bristol for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Work must start before March next year and the new homes are expected to be ready for new tenants by next autumn.
Bristol is one of 47 councils in the country to win funding in the first wave of new council house building announced by Local Government Minister John Healey.
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Lib Dem Cabinet Councillor Dr Mark Wright, who is in charge of the council's housing department, said: "We are delighted for a number of reasons.
"First, we have got a terrible housing shortage in Bristol and secondly, the areas where they will be built are in need of new homes.
"Thirdly, this is expected to help the local construction industry during the recession and provide work for many building contractors who are currently unemployed."
There are more than 14,000 people on Bristol's council housing waiting list and the last time council homes were built in the city was during the early 1980s.
Graham Sims, the council's Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods, said: "There are suggestions that this round of bidding could be followed by further funding which, if this is the case, would be very welcome indeed."
Council officials say they are waiting for advice from the Government on whether tenants in the new homes will eventually be able to buy the properties under the right-to-buy legislation.
Local Government Minister John Healey said a total of more than 2,000 council homes will be built under the £127 million building programme, creating more than 5,000 construction jobs. A total of 156 will be built in the South West.
He said: "It's still small scale, but it is significant – and it's a sign of our commitment to new council homes. This is the first time that councils are getting government grants to build new council homes on the same basis as housing associations."
Mr Healey defended Labour's decade-long refusal to give town halls the same freedom to build as housing associations, insisting they were too badly run.
He said: "Even the strongest champion of local councils would have to concede that too few of them were very good at what they did, and too many of them were poor at a lot of what they did."