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Plans to increase council housing stock approved

Plans to increase council housing stock approved

23 March 2023
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Roof of a house

The government have awarded £3.1 million to Wokingham Borough Council towards the purchase of 17 homes to help combat the housing shortage for those under the Ukraine and Afghan resettlement scheme as part of their £500 million Housing Support Fund.


On the one-year anniversary of the first Ukrainian guests arriving in the borough, Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making executive last night (21 March) approved plans for the purchase of the homes, topped up by £2 million from developers’ contributions to affordable housing, plus borrowing of £3.7 million.

Increased pressure on housing stock

Currently within the borough, there are four Ukrainian households in temporary accommodation and a further 212 households who will need accommodation once their host placements come to an end. Although some of these households may move out of the borough or into privately rented flats or houses, there will be increased pressure on the council’s housing stock and on temporary accommodation.

The grant from the government has been allocated to buy at least 15 two to four bed family properties, as well as two multiple-occupancy four bed properties for Afghan refugees in bridging accommodation. The council has looked at the current families in the borough and will look to purchase six two bed properties, seven three bed properties and four four bed properties.

Short term rent

All properties will be let on an affordable rent for a maximum of three years (when the current Ukrainian Visa scheme ends), after which time they will become part of the council’s general housing stock available to others in need of affordable housing in the borough.


When the war in Ukraine started just over a year ago, Wokingham Borough - along with other councils across the UK - welcomed guests into the community.


Just over a year on, and Europe has seen the largest refugee crisis since World War Two, with over eight million displaced Ukrainians.


It is impossible to predict when the war will end and refugees can start returning home. The first year has been focused on getting Ukrainians to safety and settling them into communities, and the council now faces the challenge of longer-term housing in an already stretched market.


It is pleased to receive the government grant, which will help Ukrainian and Afghan refugees remain in the communities where they have started to re-build their lives, with the long term benefits of extra housing stock for affordable rent.


The executive members agreed last night to delegate authority of purchasing individual properties (up to a value of £2 million) to the Deputy Chief Executive in consultation with the Deputy Leader for the Council and Executive Member for Housing, with contracts on the 17 properties to have been exchanged by November 2023. 

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