Norfolk

Norwich Stirling Prize-winning homes 'should not be sold for profit'

Goldsmith Street estate Image copyright Tim Crocker
Image caption Goldsmith Street estate was described as a "beacon of hope" by Riba judges

Award-winning eco-homes should not be sold off at a profit under Right to Buy rules, a council executive has warned.

Goldsmith Street in Norwich, with 100 ultra-low energy homes, won the Riba Stirling Prize last month for the UK's best new building.

The city council's chief executive said the homes were not built for people to "buy and possibly make some money".

The government said it had removed the borrowing cap to help councils deliver more social homes.

Image caption Laura McGillivray said Goldsmith Street was a long-term project to create homes for local people

Under current Right to Buy rules, a tenant who has lived in a council home for three years can buy their home for one-third less than the market value.

Labour-run Norwich City Council had a stock of 30,000 houses before Right to Buy became law under Margaret Thatcher's government in 1980; it now has 15,000.

"We've invested in [Goldsmith Street] for local people who are on low wages," said council chief executive Laura McGillivray.

She said the council realised people would want to buy these "lovely" houses but added: "I don't think this is a reason not to build them in the first place.

"I think it is a reason to lobby to end that Right to Buy policy."

Image copyright Tim Crocker
Image caption The estate was built with cream coloured brick making it similar to nearby Victorian homes.

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green Party opposition at the council, said: "Right to Buy has contributed to the housing crisis which Britain finds itself in.

"Councils like Norwich have been forced to sell their housing stock at below their market value and do not receive appropriate resources to cover the replacement cost."

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "Since 2010, we've helped over 100,000 people into home ownership under Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Voluntary Right to Buy, and there have been 135,432 new homes provided for social rent during the same period.

"To help councils provide more homes, we've removed the borrowing cap to help them deliver around 10,000 new social homes a year by 2021/22."

Watch the full report on BBC Sunday Politics East - on BBC 1 on 3 November 2019, 10am

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