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Should affordable homes offered to rent or buy ever be “luxury”?

A council and housing association in Dorset has given an emphatic but contentious answer following the launch of a 46-flat development.

Sheila Manchester

affordable homes

The terms affordable homes and luxury rarely go together, but they have been successfully amalgamated at an extraordinary development in Dorset, setting a new standard for mixed-tenure developments across the UK.

Nile Court looks like the usual kind of swish pad for wealthy footballers that are dotted all over Dorset’s best-known millionaire’s retreat, Poole Harbour.

But while local residents have assumed it’s just another luxury development, Nile Court is made up of affordable homes most with jaw-dropping views over the harbour.

The development, which is now completed, includes 46 one and two bedroom apartments with private balconies of which 30 are only available to tenants registered for council housing all for just between £270 and £320 a month.

This compares to between £800 and £1,200 for similar-sized apartment on the open market locally.

Nile Court also features a communal public art area and underground parking, while 16 apartments are being offered on a shared ownership basis starting at £78,000 for a two-bedroom unit via housing association Sovereign Living.

It built the development in partnership with the recently amalgamated Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

“The flats are amazing, and the views are spectacular and you have to bear in mind they are almost all for local people on the housing register,” says Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council.

“They’ve already all been snapped up, those who have got them are very lucky indeed. It is a great place to live, and as well as the harbour views you can also watch the speedway!”

Local estate agent Adrian Dunford, of Tailor Made, said Poole Harbour is considered highly desirable by prospective homebuyers because of its views.

“Everyone aspires to have a sea view, they can cause an uplift in the value of a property from 25 – 50 per cent,” he says.

October 11, 2019

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