Entrepreneurial Council takes shape

Two key elements of Winchester City Council’s new entrepreneurial approach have been approved.

Full Council on 11 January backed proposals to launch an open-market shared ownership scheme and to create a strategic acquisition strategy.

Under the shared ownership scheme, the City Council will support local residents by providing equity to buy a property in the district for those who do not have the substantial deposit required for a house.

Through charging a rent on the deposit element the Council will ensure a good financial return for the local taxpayer while ensuring that the Council’s investment is supporting the local area. The household will normally own 70% of the property with the Council owning a 30% share. The household could buy the Council out of its share in the future.

The acquisition strategy will see up to £15m invested in property by Winchester City Council to produce rental income that supports services for local residents and compensates for loss of Government grant.

The City Council has lost £2m in funding over the past four years, with a further £1.5m of reductions expected by 2020. The property investments will have an expected rate of return of 5-6% as part of its new strategy over the next three years.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

A new entrepreneurial approach is essential to delivering financial stability for the Council and these initiatives are key elements. This approach will deliver the highest quality services for our residents, businesses and visitors and meet the outcomes we have identified in our Council Strategy.