Plans for Rushmoor Borough Council to set up its own housing company have taken an important step forward after councillors approved a five-year business plan.

The plan, which will include a programme to create nearly 60 additional homes in Aldershot and Farnborough over the next five years, was approved at a council meeting on Thursday 20 February.

The council will now move to incorporate the company and register it under the name Rushmoor Homes Ltd.

The council first approved the creation of a wholly owned limited company in April 2019 and since then has prepared a funding agreement, a shareholder agreement and the articles of association, with the final piece of the jigsaw being the business plan. A shadow board of directors has also been formed and is meeting regularly.

Councillors heard that to begin delivering on the housing programme the new company would first need to take ownership of council-owned properties and sites in phases. Eight sites in Aldershot and Farnborough had initially been identified for development in the first two years of operation, with an eventual programme total of 15 sites and 57 homes. The first two sites are in Arthur Street, Aldershot, and Ship Lane, Farnborough.

To fund the programme over the next five years the housing company will be borrowing around £11.3 million from the council, with income from rent used to repay the loan.

Governance of the housing company will include oversight by the council’s Chief Executive, as a shareholder representative, and scrutiny by councillors, the Cabinet, the Licensing, Audit and General Purposes Committee, the Overview and Scrutiny Panel and the Policy and Projects Advisory Board.

Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Major Projects and Property, Councillor Martin Tennant, said: “These are exciting times – this is the last hurdle in getting this housing company going.

“Our ambition has always been to develop good quality, private rented homes for residents, which are in short supply, and setting up this housing company will enable us to do this. “

The Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, Councillor David Clifford, said: “One of the reasons we decided to set up a housing company was because we wanted to show our residents what a good landlord looks like. In time, once the housing company is up and running, I want to see us as a model for all landlords in Aldershot and Farnborough to follow. “