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Bristol City Council to buy 100 homes after pandemic delay

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image captionCity mayor Marvin Rees said buying the private homes was a "really imaginative" solution

Plans to buy 100 extra houses following delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic to a council's own home-building programme have been agreed.

Bristol City Council said it would spend £20m over the next four years to buy affordable homes from private developers.

While many properties would be "brand new, some could be old and need refurbishing", the authority said.

Some of the £20m would be spent this year and the rest up to 2024/25.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said many of the homes were yet to be identified but the council had started talks with several private developers who had accepted the authority's offer on an "in principle" basis.

Homes on this list include 29 in Bedminster, 25 in Fishponds, 24 in St Werburghs and 10 in Stokes Croft.

Mayor Marvin Rees said the Covid-19 crisis had delayed "a number of projects" in the local authority's council house building programme.

He told the cabinet meeting that using £20m from the fund set aside for this programme to buy affordable homes from private developers instead was a "really imaginative" solution.

"We've seen an opportunity and we've taken it," he said.

The move was welcomed by community activist Ollie Fortune, who asked the mayor whether the council intended to buy more council homes this way, given that 100 houses was less than one per cent of the number of people on the council house waiting list.

Mr Rees said it would depend on the council's financial constraints but it was "not holding back in terms of delivering homes".

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