Building houses for rent on its own land is being considered by Craven District Council as a way of boosting its income.
As a first step, officers are pricing up one of its redundant garage sites – four of which recently got planning permission for housing, including two still owned by the council.
A report, including input from builders and estate agents, will go to the council’s Select Committee before a recommendation is made to its decision making Policy Committee.
At last week’s Select Committee, chairman Coun John Roberts said it was important that they looked at additional revenue streams.
“It’s taken a lot to get our budget to where we are, but we can’t cut any more, so we will have to look at income streams,” he said.
A report suggested a range of options for members to consider – including building houses to sell or rent and buying houses already built, but needing work.
Other suggestions included building a multi-storey car park in Skipton and buying up shops.
Councillors were also urged to consider buying up affordable homes, connected to already approved housing developments, for shared-equity ownership.
Of all the options, buying houses to rent was shown to have the least favourable return at around four per cent, with acquiring shared ownership affordable homes the best, at more than 38 per cent return.
But Coun Ady Green favoured a measured approach, and suggested that as a first step the council look to build on one of the redundant garage sites it recently approved planning permission for.
Councillors were told of the four sites – in Cononley, Glusburn, High Bentham and Ingleton – two had been sold, but two were owned by the council.
The sites, approved by planning just last month, include apartments, bungalows and semi-detached homes, including some affordable, and of up to six new homes.
“I don’t think we should try to run before we can walk. If we start off with a four or five house site, build it for rent and see what interest there is, we can take it from there,” he said.
However, Coun David Staveley advised councillors against dismissing other options, building on small and large sites, and said that these too should be explored in greater depth.