A MULTI-MILLION pound council housing programme has been given a significant boost thanks to grant funding from the Government.

The Homes and Communities Agency has announced that Swindon Council will receive £2.23m to help build 100 council homes between 2015 and 2018.

The funding announcement followed a successful bid from the council and will kick-start the largest council house building programme for three decades.

It comes after smaller schemes were completed in recent years at Malmesbury Gardens, Marlowe Avenue, Lennox Drive and Beech Avenue.

It is estimated the cost of the building programme will be £18.8m with a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom homes built.

The Government grant will cover 20 per cent of the building costs; the remainder will be funded by borrowing against rental income.

Rents for the new properties will be set at affordable levels (80 per cent of market levels) to make the house building programme financially viable.

The homes will be built at several sites across the borough, subject to planning permission, be built to Code 3 of the Sustainable Homes Standards which will help tenants reduce their utility bills.

The first homes will be finished at Sussex Square from September next year.

Leader of the council, Coun David Renard, said: “This is excellent news for Swindon as it not only helps to address our need for affordable housing, but it also supports economic growth and will create jobs.

“This is the biggest house building programme in Swindon since the 1980s.

“It shows we are committed to investing in our housing stock and providing sustainable homes for people who need them.”

Coun Mark Dempsey (Lab, Walcot and Park North), who is the parliamentary candidate for North Swindon, said: “It is vital that we build more affordable homes and enable people to get a home of their own. The Labour Group in Swindon have already committed to at least 300 new affordable homes being built in Swindon each year.

“The Labour Party have committed government to building 200,000 new affordable homes per year across the country by the end of the next parliament.

“This Government’s announcement of just 33 homes per year is a drop in the ocean compared to the affordable housing that Swindon needs.”

There are just over 8,000 people on the council housing waiting list in Swindon.