Staffordshire Moorlands social housing loan criticised

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Plans by a Staffordshire council to borrow £20m to fund a house-building scheme have been criticised by opposition parties.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has said it will borrow the money from the government to help build 400 affordable homes.

It is part of a partnership between the Conservative-led authority and Moorlands Housing.

Opposition parties said the decision deserved a vote by the full council.

Linda Malyon, of the Moorlands Democratic Alliance, said it was "a major issue for the whole district" and a full council meeting could have been quickly arranged.

The £20m loan represents about twice the council's annual budget and it will pay favourable interest rates of about 2.2% on its repayments.

'Talked to death'

Council Leader Sybil Ralphs said the decision, made by the executive group, was not a risk.

She said: "This has been before scrutiny, it has been talked to death.

"There comes a time when you have to stop talking and actually get on with it."

Describing the plans as "pioneering", Ms Ralphs said demand for social housing in the area was high and that incomes from rent would cover interest payments on the loan.

The project also includes extra-care homes for the elderly on the former British Trimmings site at Ball Haye Green.

Work on that is due to start next month and be completed by March 2014, Ms Ralphs said.

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