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Council Firm to Build Houses in Wales

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More than £1 million will be put into a new company by Carmarthenshire Council leaders for the construction of 500 houses across the country. The funding is divided into £100k to cover set-up costs for the council-owned Cartrefi Croeso Ltd, a loan of £280k for the 2018/2019 operating costs and £750k that will fund detailed appraisals of eight sites, the development of a procurement strategy and detailed design briefs.

The proposed houses would be a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom properties, including bungalows. They would be sold or rented out and at least 74 out of the 500 would be classed as affordable. Six sites are currently being assessed for their viability: Carmarthen West, Cross Hands, Burry Port, Llansteffan, Gwynfryn South and Nant y Dderwen.

“There is a business plan in place that will be monitored as the business runs on,” said Cllr David Jenkins. “I have got no worries at all making sure that the council’s interests are properly maintained with the running of the contract.”

The council is the sole shareholder of Cartrefi Croeso, which will have five directors – two council officers, one councillor and two external appointments. The last two are to be chosen by council chief executive Mark James after consultation with council leader Emlyn Dole.

The new company is expected to help deliver the council’s affordable housing commitment, provide apprenticeships, boost economic growth and deliver a return. For the construction of the houses however, more loans will be needed.

A report setting out the company’s plans for 2018 – 2023 suggests that house sales were lower in Carmarthenshire before the 2007/2008 recession: “The country has seen a reduction in the number of active construction firms involved in new house building.”

“Some firms have ceased trading, whilst others have re-structured to concentrate on non-housing construction, or on repairs and maintenance. Larger national firms have retreated from the county,” the report said.

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024