Council houses are to be built in Sutton for the first time since 1989 after the council agreed a pioneering new strategy.

In a bid to create more affordable housing for families, promote economic growth and investment in the borough, Sutton Council is to set up its own house building company with an aim to build council homes.

The plan was revealed at a meeting of the council's strategy and resources committee last night.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, said: "This is one of the most exciting reports to  come before this committee in a long time.

"The last time we built housing was in 1989.

"We don't need lots more expensive studio flats - we need family homes.

"This is a highly exciting opportunity. It gives us the chance to provide the sort of housing our residents need.

"Housing is key to reducing inequalities and making sure everyone has equal opportunities in life."

Sutton Council will be one of the first authorities in the country to set up its own housing company when the plans go ahead.

The project will be funded through money made from the right-to-buy housing scheme, through which the council sold 100 homes in the last two years, and through borrowing.

The council is also planning to set up so-called 'housing zones' - a project set up by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Housing zones are local authority-run areas designed to accommodate a minimum of 1,000 homes in order to qualify for funding from the GLA.

The council is looking at using sites in Sutton town centre and Hackbridge to constitute a housing zone.

The plans met approval from both Liberal Democrat and Conservative Councillors at last night's meeting, although councillors did stress the importance of making sure the buildings are of good quality.

Coun Simon Wales (Lib Dem, Sutton West) said: "I sure there will be safeguards as to the quality of these houses, we just need to make sure this happens.

"Not long ago Roundshaw [the estate in Wallington] was seen as the answer to our problems."

Councillors also asked if Sutton Housing Partnership would be managing the homes, as it does with Sutton's current housing stock.

The councillors were told that no decision had been made on who will manage the homes.

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