AMBITIOUS plans to build 1,000 affordable homes in Darlington over the next ten years are set to move a step closer to realisation next week.

Members of Darlington Borough Council's cabinet are due to consider a report on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) at a meeting on Tuesday, December 11.

The report highlights how the council has been lobbying Central Government to lift the borrowing cap on the HRA so that tenants could benefit from the same flexible borrowing arrangements as other Council services.

Councillor Andy Scott, cabinet member for health, housing and partnerships, said: “The lifting of the borrowing cap means we can increase our housing capital programme by about £12m in 2019/20.

“This can be supplemented by grants from Homes England and support our ten-year plan to revitalise our housing stock.

“Recent housing developments we have completed, including those at Allington Way and Branksome, have been to a very high standard with lots of positive feedback from tenants, which is very pleasing.”

Cabinet will also consider proposals to reduce the average weekly social rent by one per cent for 2019/20 – which would give an average social rent of £70.53 a week and affordable rent of £77.92.

Councillor Stephen Harker, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “The item on the HRA is just one example of how the council is working hard to fight the effects of austerity.

“We’ll also be talking about our Medium Term Financial Plan, which shows a balanced budget for the next four years, putting us in a better financial position than most local authorities.

“That’s down to the difficult decisions we have taken since 2010 when austerity first hit.

“Those difficult decisions have included putting up Council Tax, which sadly we are having to increase again for 2019/20.

“I appreciate that no one relishes the prospect of paying more Council Tax.

"However, the Government has repeatedly cut the funding they give us, and so to protect vital services such as adult social care – which helps to support vulnerable people in our community – we have little choice but to increase Council Tax.”

Other items to be discussed at this month’s Cabinet meeting include an update on Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Club’s proposals to create a sports village near their stadium.

The report show there has been interest from a hotel operator and petrol station company to get involved in plans for the site.

More details are expected to go before cabinet in the new year.

Tuesday's meeting takes place at the town hall from 5pm.

The public are welcome to attend.