Council gives £15m housing loan

Soha chief executive Richard Peacock

Soha chief executive Richard Peacock

First published in News

A GROUNDBREAKING loan deal could see £15m from council coffers put towards the building of 250 homes a year across South Oxfordshire and beyond.

South Oxfordshire District Council will tomorrow sign off plans to lend £15m to Soha Housing association.

The 20-year loan with an undisclosed “preferential” rate of interest is the biggest the council has ever made, and will pay for about half of the 250 homes the housing association builds each year.

The £15m payout will come from the council’s £120m reserves and will help to fund Soha’s plans to build 200 homes a year, all within an hour’s drive of Didcot.

Soha chief executive Richard Peacock said: “Soha is well funded financially and invests its surpluses into part of its development programme, but most still have to be funded from loans.

“We already have in place excellent loan agreements, but this loan was beneficial to both parties and will be used to fund additional development.

“This loan will help make sure that Soha can include lots of new homes within the South Oxfordshire area as part of its development programme. A good example is the next phase of affordable homes being delivered at Great Western Park in Didcot. This also helps Soha to directly help many of the 1,450 people who are currently on a waiting list for housing in our local area.”

Taxpayers’ money would be safe invested in the company, and work would begin soon if the cash was approved tomorrow.

He said: “All loans to housing associations are secured on the associations’ properties, meaning this is a very safe investment for SODC.”

Development could begin in the next six months, with residents moving in inside 18 months.

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