North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet has agreed a £2.5m cash injection to further support the District’s housing needs and recruit a new Energy Officer to help residents combat rising fuel costs.
The scheme will not cost the Council Tax-paying public any extra as it is funded from NNDC’s housing reserves to support its recently-announced Housing Strategy, creating and maintaining homes for those most in need.
Funding has also been set aside to create a new Energy Officer role at Council. This person will advise residents on making their homes more energy-efficient in order to help offset rising fuel costs in the months and years ahead.
In welcoming the decision Portfolio Holder for Housing and Benefits, Wendy Fredericks commented: “It’s important to stress this funding comes from grants and existing reserves and will not cost the North Norfolk Council Tax-payers anything extra.
“The re-alignment of People Services means that our Benefits, Housing Options, Housing Adaptions and Health and Communities teams will now work more closely under the banner of people services. This joined up approach will enhance service delivery for our customers.
“North Norfolk has over 5,000 households living in fuel poverty. This is set to rise. At the same time CO2 emissions from domestic properties represent nearly 30% of carbon emissions in the district. By employing the skills of a new Energy Officer to improve energy efficiency for households, reduce fuel poverty and CO2 emissions.
“Other reserves funding will continue to support ongoing liaison with communities, housing associations and developers to bring forward affordable housing. Funding was also approved to convert shared ownership new build properties, to affordable rental homes, which are desperately needed.
Cllr Fredericks went on to say;
“Rather than keeping hold of housing reserves we want to use them to improve homeless services in the District. NNDC have already bought 13 units of temporary accommodation, with three more in the pipeline. These are the only homes the Council holds. Normally homeless households would be placed in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation. This can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing, work opportunities and be out of the reach of local schools and support networks. People services teams support and facilitate a more permanent housing solution.”
The purchase of houses for temporary accommodation not only reduces costs but provides the Council with an appreciating asset so demonstrating the financial prudence of a Liberal Democrat run authroity.