At Sefton Council’s meeting on 14th July 2022 the Council is being requested to approve a further £1.033m for pre-planning stages on 2 sites (see below).
The report does not explain what is included in the pre-planning stages or why this should be funded by public money from the Council and the Combined Authority.
Sandway Homes Ltd was set up by Sefton Council as an arms-length company to build houses for sale on sites owned by Sefton Council. The company is not required to offer solely “affordable homes” in their developments and operates in a similar way to conventional commercial house-builders.
The big difference is that Sandway Homes Ltd is under-written by the Council.
In October 2021 Sefton’s Labour Council agreed to offer up to £8.3m in debt finance, as at March 2022.
In their accounts published with Companies House on 14th December 2021, Sandway Homes Ltd showed that their net liabilities as at 31st March 2021 were £1,838,497 compared with £1,333,794 in the previous year. In other words, their debt had grown by over half a million pounds in a year.
The question is why public money is being provided to Sandway Homes Ltd when conventional housebuilders have to rely on private funding from banks and other institutions to build homes in the borough?
Not quite a level playing field?
Report to Council 14th July 2022
8. Sandway Homes- Grant Application
8.1 At the Cabinet meeting of 3 September 2020, members approved that Sandway Homes Limited be granted approval to develop a phase 2 business case in respect of three sites. To support this work a grant application has been made to the Combined Authority to support development work up to the pre-planning stage in respect of the following two sites • Former Bootle High School site, Browns Lane, Bootle (£0.339m); and • Land to the rear of Bentham Drive, Southport (£0.694m).
8.2 These applications are expected to be approved in the next month (and may have been by the date of this meeting) and a back-to-back legal agreement will be developed between the Council and Sandway Homes for them to utilise the funding as set out. A supplementary capital estimate of £1.033m is therefore proposed for approval within this report, subject to approval of the grant applications. See also our article in October 2021 which offered further details of the performance of Sandway Homes Ltd. https://www.seftoncentralconservatives.org.uk/news/seftons-housing-comp…