Homes for refugees and other vulnerable people in Bracknell Forest have officially been given the go-ahead.

Last month, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive committee announced that it would be buying seven three-bedroom homes to help resettle those fleeing wars and reduce pressure on its existing housing stock.

It will also refurbish two three-bedroom council homes.

The project was made possible thanks to a successful bid for funding to the Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) grant supplied Department of Levelling Up Communities and Housing (DLUHC).

Bracknell Forest Council was awarded £1.26 million from the grant, with the council also investing the larger sum of £3.4 million (maximum) which involved purchasing the homes on the open market.

READ MORE: Bracknell council to buy homes to accommodate Ukraine and Afghan refugees

For the project to go ahead, it had to be approved at a full council meeting, which has subsequently happened.

The policy was devised by the council’s housing department councillor Dale Birch (Conservative, Little Sandhurst and Wellington), executive member for housing.

Cllr Birch said: “This is close to my heart. It’s housing particularly for temporary accommodation to provide for people that have become or becoming homeless, to put them into somewhere where we can then look around and find them something more permanent.

“I’m sure it won’t surprise any of you that three-bedroom homes are particularly difficult to come across and come by.

“But we’ve got some funding, and we’re putting some funding ourselves into acquiring these.”

The grant was given by the government to support councils where homelessness is an issue and those which have taken in Afghan refugees and Ukrainian guests.

A policy document states: “Any units acquired will be owned and managed by the Council and would be available for use by the housing service as required, including but not limited to Ukrainian and Afghan households in the borough.”

The project received unanimous support.

However, there was a question over the possibility of acquiring a four-bedroom house as part of the project as well.

Cllr Mary Temperton said: “It’s really good to acquire seven three-bedroom houses and refurbish two three-bedroom properties.”

“Four-bedroom properties are a premium and for larger families they are really so desperately needed.”

Cllr Birch then clarified that the council ‘intends within the plan to deliver one’.

Giving further clarification in a call with the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said that the council will buy a four bedroom home if it can find one and if it fits within the ‘funding envelope’.

Cllr Birch also thanked the council’s homelessness team and its housing options team for the hard work they do.

He called them “a really super team.”

The project was approved at the meeting on Wednesday, April 19, which is the last full meeting of the council ahead of the all-out elections on Thursday, May 4.