Liverpool wants to 'lead mission' for Labour government in £1bn housing plan

How Central Park at Liverpool Waters could look
-Credit: (Image: Peel L&P)

Liverpool Council wants to “kickstart a £1bn boom” as it looks to support the new Labour government’s housing ambitions.

As new chancellor Rachel Reeves said restarting stalled housing projects in the city’s Central Docks would be one of the new administration’s first priorities. The local authority has unveiled its plans to build 2,000 new homes a year up to 2030 with the city expected to grow by 40,000 households in the next two decades, city officials are moving to set out their plans they believe can reduce the number of empty properties and tackle homelessness.

Cllr Liam Robinson, leader of Liverpool Council, said Liverpool “stands ready to play its part” to support the new government in “its mission to change the housing landscape of this country.”

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Authority chiefs hope its wide-ranging strategy over the next six years will enable a £1bn building programme to deliver thousands of homes city-wide. Of the 2,000 homes a year it hopes to build, officials want at least a fifth to be affordable.

Of the 10,700 new homes built in the past five years, just 11% are classed as such. Additionally, 20% of properties in the city - equating to 44,000 - do not currently meet the definition of a decent home.

Earlier this week, new chancellor Ms Reeves said Liverpool would be at the heart of Labour’s new housing plan, with eyes on restarting the stalled work at the city’s Central Docks. Cllr Robinson said the council would “get the country moving” in delivering on housing targets.

He said: “The new Government has set out its mission to change the housing landscape of this country – and Liverpool stands ready to play its part. The underlying problem of supply and demand is also at the heart of our mission – which is why we are working with a range of partners to unlock key brownfield sites and to systematically reduce the number of empty properties.

“Together this will help kickstart a £1bn boom in housebuilding across the city, which will have a huge impact on our economy and workforce.”

This spring, more than 8,000 owners responsible for empty properties across Liverpool were told they could face a massive hike in fees if action isn’t taken to fill their homes. City officials have written to thousands of property owners as part of a review of empty sites city-wide.

Those responsible for the vacant lots are being contacted to confirm if they are still empty or for fresh information regarding occupants. This came hot off the heels of the local authority announcing it will hit property owners with 300% council tax for the longest-term vacant homes.

Cllr Robinson added how the new strategy would seek to focus on retrofitting poorly insulated homes to help reduce energy bills and mould in properties. He added: “Good quality, suitable housing is also a major contributor to ensuring people access the services they need and helps the council better address the needs of our most vulnerable residents. This draft strategy outlines our ambitions for improving Liverpool’s housing offer as well as helping to reduce homelessness.”

The Labour member for Kensington and Fairfield said achieving its ambitions would require support from residents and stakeholders, as well as “intelligent collaboration with our partners, including the Combined Authority, government and its agencies, developers, investors and housing providers.”

He said: “I’m confident Liverpool can get the country moving in launching a new era of quality, affordable homes.”

Councillor Sam East, cabinet member for housing, added: “While the recent homelessness crisis in Liverpool has necessitated emergency action, we want this strategy to provide a longer-term framework to ensure individuals and families can always access homely and sustainable living in the future. This draft strategy reflects feedback we’ve already gathered which highlighted overwhelming support for providing more homes for social rent, improving energy efficiency and insulation on homes, and tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.”

The consultation will run until September 6, with three community drop-in days held next month giving people the opportunity to feed back on the proposals. Officials will be at Central Library from 9am to 6pm on Wednesday August 7, Spellow Library from 10am to 6pm on Monday August 12 and Garston Library from 9am to 4.30pm on Tuesday August 13.

The final strategy is expected to be approved by cabinet in the autumn, before submission to the government for independent examination in late 2025 and adoption by December 2026.

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