Land purchase to bring new homes

Image of the site

Cabinet is set to approve the purchase of a major piece of land in the town centre which could bring up to 1,000 new homes to the town

The multi-million pound site – part of the former Akzo Nobel factory area – would be used for new homes with hundreds being used for social and affordable housing. 

The former Akzo Nobel site was acquired by development firm Panattoni and split into two areas – a commercial area and a residential area; it is the residential area the council is looking to purchase. 

The residential is to the south of the site and, as well as up to 1,000 homes, also has planning permission for a variety of retail alongside new public spaces, car parking and new roads and footpaths. 

Councillor James Swindlehurst, leader of the council and lead member for regeneration, said: “It has sometimes been frustrating that major developments in the town are only in our hands as a planning application with little or no real control over the final outcome. 

“By buying this land, we are in control over the destiny of the site, can direct it to provide the most benefit to local residents and ensure it joins with other regeneration in the centre square mile to both align with and compliment our over all strategy for this part of our town.”

If agreed, the cost of buying the land would be met by borrowing at a low interest rate and use of the council’s capital budget which exists for major infrastructure projects, purchasing of assets and buildings and is separate from the budget which provides funding for council services (the revenue budget). 

The proposed cost of the land is currently commercially confidential. 

Councillor Swindlehurst added: “Providing high-quality homes across the social, affordable and private housing sectors is a strategic priority for us as the council

“With the proposal including at least 25 per cent affordable housing we want to provide local quality homes for local people, with control over the public areas to provide a holistic and improved environment.

“We have aspirations for an even greater proportion of the site to be social and affordable housing and to make this a flagship scheme for our emerging sustainability and transport strategies and will be continuing this work once we have secured the site. 

“For these reasons I will be recommending this purchase to the cabinet.”

Cabinet is being held on Monday 18 January at 6.30pm and will be streamed live on the council’s website. 

The Acquisition of Land at the former Akzo Nobel manufacturing site is item 3 on the agenda. 

The full agenda including the reports on this item can be found here

Published: 13 January 2021