Corby Council buys up new homes at Priors Hall and Oakley Vale

Corby Council is adding to its housing stock by buying up new homes at Priors Hall and Oakley Vale.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:00 am
The Oakley Rise site during construction in 2017.

The details of the homes buy-up have been kept under wraps as they were discussed in private by the council’s One Corby Policy Committee in an exempt session earlier this month.

A request by the Local Democracy Reporting service to waive the exemption in the public interest because of the large sums being spent and allow the press and public to hear the decision being made was denied.

The Labour-run authority said councillors had been able to question the relevant officers and scrutinise the work programme.

The Wilby Close development of four flats proved to be an expensive build.

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It is understood the houses will be bought using right to buy receipts and that the expenditure is more than £1m. It has not been made public how many new homes are being purchased or the cost the council is paying for each property.

Asked what was decided at the meeting held on October 8, a Corby Council spokesman said: “Members of Corby Borough Council’s One Corby Policy Committee have agreed to purchase housing on Priors Hall and Oakley Rise and will endeavour to release further details when appropriate.”

Oakley Rise is an Allison Homes development, which is part of Larkfleet Homes. Larkfleet is also building homes at the Priors Hall site.

Since the start of the decade the authority has added 240 homes to its housing stock, which is depleted each year by right to buy sales. In the five years between 2013 and 2018, 226 Corby Council properties were bought by tenants.

The modular homes at Wilby Close were built off site.

However, decisions about its housing strategy have all been made behind closed doors in private meetings since the masterplan was adopted in June last year. Decisions have then been ratified by the full council.

The report said: “The housing development strategy will ensure that new developments are built to high standards while addressing housing need, achieve best value for the council and make a positive contribution to the corporate plan.”

The cost of the modular scheme at Wilby Close came under fire from Labour councillor Mark Pengelly after it was revealed the authority spent £705,000 on the one-bedroom flats, or £176,000 each.

It will also be spending £903,000 on converting garages in Barnard Close into eight flats.

Work started last month on converting the Barnard Close garages into homes.

Reports about the housing strategy have been discussed by the overview and scrutiny panel on three occasions since June last year.