AN AMBITIOUS council house investment programme has been approved by top councillors.

The city council is to pour £20 million into creating new affordable homes in York, and has also approved moves to revive two small council house building sites.

On Wednesday night housing boss Martin Farran told councillors the big investment was “fantastically good news” for the city.

The deal also sees £80 million set aside for improving and repairing existing council homes - which is itself a significant inward investment for the city, he added.

The revived building plans will see five new one-bedroom bungalows on Newbury Avenue and six two-bedroom houses for families at Chaloner’s Road.

Meanwhile, a major investment fund is being created to pour £20 million into building new homes for social rent. That money is coming from housing funds the council already has, with £4 million from the sale of council homes under Right to Buy and £1 million from the “commuted sums” developers pay to fund affordable housing.

The money will fund new build homes and the council plans to buy back some of those homes sold under Right to Buy under “first refusal” clauses.

This decisions also mean a “stock options appraisal”, which would have seen the council consider shifting its homes into a housing association, has been scrapped.

That move was welcomed by Dringhouses and Woodthorpe councillor Ann Reid who said: “As someone who has already represented a ward with substantial numbers of council properties in it, I know there has never ever been an appetite in this city for divesting ourselves of our council housing. I think that is a reflection, over the years, that we have always managed the stock well and invested in it.”