Wokingham Borough Council's housing company, Wokingham Housing (WHL), is featured in series four of the BBC documentary ‘Council House Crackdown’.
The day time television series follow’s local authority housing investigators as they track down social housing tenancy cheats, reclaim homes and give them to people in need.
WHL featured as a result of the work Wokingham Borough Council is doing to build more affordable rented housing through its wholly-owned Local Housing Companies for Wokingham Borough residents.
More affordable housing
The show featured Berry Brook Homes’ tenant Emma Jones who was offered a new affordable rented property at the Phoenix Avenue development in central Wokingham.
The 68 brand new homes and apartments at Phoenix Avenue are available through the Council’s housing register for social and intermediate rent. Intermediate rented homes, like the one Emma and her family live in, are available to people on the housing register who cannot afford decent private housing through renting or buying. Intermediate rents are typically set at 80% of market rent levels.
This approach to affordable housing enables people that would not normally get an offer of accommodation, because their circumstances would not give them as much priority as say someone who is homeless, but who nonetheless need a little bit of help to afford decent housing in the Borough.
Intervening in the housing market
WHL Managing Director Bill Flood also featured on the programme and spoke of the importance of local authorities intervening in the housing market, and said: “Market solutions do not provide homes that are affordable for a significant number of local people, especially in areas of exceptionally high property prices like Wokingham Borough. In instances such as Phoenix Avenue, Wokingham Borough Council is able to subsidise affordable housing through the provision of free land and financial subsidy in the form of capital to enable developments like these to happen.”
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Executive Member for Housing at Wokingham Borough Council, added: “We recognised that Wokingham Borough needed more affordable housing and set up our council-owned housing companies a couple of years ago to help increase the supply. I am pleased that they are now producing significant numbers of high quality affordable houses, such as those in Phoenix Avenue, to help residents, such as Emma and her family, get a home of their own."
The episode of Council Housing Crackdown is available to view on BBC iPlayer until 12 October 2018.