Shropshire Star

Shropshire housing firm to offer 100 homes to rent in new developments

A house builder set up by Shropshire Council will offer nearly a hundred homes for private rent to guard against a potential slump in the housing market.

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Cornovii Developments, set up by Shropshire Council in 2019, wants to retain 94 properties for private rent on forthcoming developments over its 10-year programme, after the company’s 2024 business plan was approved last month.

The firm will says the move will offer a better long term investment for Shropshire Council, its only shareholder, ahead of an update report to be delivered to councillors next week.

“Cornovii Developments Ltd(CDL) aim to deliver 94 private rented homes over the plan period, 12 of which will be on the London Road development,” said the report by Jane Trethewey,  Shropshire Council’s assistant director for homes and communities.

“CDL is yet to set out their rents and lettings policy for these dwellings, the adoption of both policies will be subject to the approval of the Housing Supervisory Board.”

The firm was launched in 2019 with a £14million loan from Shropshire Council and a transfer of two parcels of development land in Shrewsbury and Oswestry. At it’s launch, Shropshire Council said the company would address the county’s unmet housing need and generate income for the council.

It first proposed a move into the private rental market in 2023, with a move to offer 33 out of a total of 736 homes for rent approved in last years business plan, but that figure has now increased along with the total number of homes being built by the firm, which is also set to rise to 882.

The report adds that total number of affordable houses set to be built has increased to 163, but remains at 18 per cent as a proportion due to the increased total number.

The company’s summary business plan for 2024 said it would retain housing stock at four forthcoming developments, including the London Road scheme in Shrewsbury, to be rented out via a managing agent.

“The aim of the proposal is to offer a long-term investment solution to the Shareholder, with a different risk profile to CDL’s core business of new build, as well as providing CDL with alternative options should a market slowdown adversely impact sales rates,” it said.

“This approach was approved by CDL Board as part of the approval of the March 2023 Business Plan and work is continuing to put the necessary processes and procedures in place.”

The company says it will deliver over £38.1 million in returns to Shropshire Council over its lifespan, but its business plan summary warned that adding further affordable homes to schemes would come at a cost to the authority.

“This proposal presents the most commercial proposition and maximises the financial return to the shareholder,” it said.

“Additional affordable units can be added to future sites on a site-by-site basis if there is an acceptance that shareholder return will reduce.”