Council will buy five homes in Exeter for Afghanistan refugees

Homes totalling around £1.5milion are to be bought in Exeter for Afghanistan refugees, the city council has announced.

Five homes are to be bought in Exeter for refugees from the war in Afghanistan, some of whom put their lives on the line to work with the British army, writes local democracy reporter Guy Henderson.

Members of Exeter City Council held an extraordinary meeting this week and agreed to spend £670,000 from the Government to provide the homes. The money is part of a £250million fund.

The council will put in another £800,000, drawn from ‘Section 106’ funds – money that must be paid to the authority by developers as part of planning permissions granted locally.

They heard that a decision had to be made quickly because the deadline to accept the government money – part of the Afghan Resettlement Scheme – was just days away.

Cllr Martin Pearce (Lab, Duryard and St James) said it was a “fantastic opportunity” to house people desperately in need of help.

A report to the meeting said: “Exeter City Council is committed to supporting refugees who have been misplaced due to conflict.”

The home office is currently funding ‘bridging’ hotel accommodation, but this cash is due to end this month, and households will then be able to approach the council as being homeless. Homeless applications from Afghan households are currently very low, but they are expected to increase with the number of Afghan households moving out of bridging hotels.

As of last month, there were two bridging hotels in the Exeter and Exmouth area with a total of 24 households consisting of 52 adults and 42 children.

Cllr Paul Knott (Lab, Exwick) said: “It’s a decision about what is right to do, and this proposal is right.”

Cllr Diana Moore (Green, St David’s) added: “It is very important for us to say that refugees are welcome in this city. These people have had to move here because they supported the British Army in Afghanistan, and because of that their lives are at risk.

“We very much welcome these families to Exeter and hope they remain a long-term part of the community.”

Developer submits planning application to build retirement flats on former school site in Exeter