A Norfolk council will become a landlord for the first time in three decades, although it will initially only provide housing for refugees.

Breckland Council has agreed to become a social housing provider for the first time since it transferred its stock to a housing association in 1993

Social houses are low-cost rentals for people who cannot afford to rent or buy on the open market. 

The first properties the council will own will be 26 homes set for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees. 

Funding for the homes is coming from a government grant called the ‘local authority housing fund’, which Breckland agreed to take in February.  

Before those properties can be filled, the authority is required to become a 'registered provider' of social housing with a regulator.

Long term, Breckland says this will also help it access more funding, which it hopes can go towards purchasing more homes to help tackle homelessness in the district.

Claire Bowes, cabinet member for housing, told her colleagues that addressing the housing crisis was “one of the key challenges facing Breckland" and the country. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Claire BowesClaire Bowes (Image: Submitted)

Terry Jermy, the Labour group leader in Breckland, welcomed the plans but added: “We as a council have been at a disadvantage for many years, relying on others to support us with housing and we have seen demand increasing and with that, cost. 

“I think it’s important to look at this proposal in the sense of a long-term investment, yes we have got to spend a fair bit of money upfront but this is a solution to a problem that’s been there for a long while.” 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Terry JermyTerry Jermy (Image: Breckland Council)

The authority previously invested £1.8m into the Elm House site in Thetford, creating new temporary accommodation for up to 35 people. This did not require the authority to become a registered provider.