WORK on the first homes to be built by the borough council's private housing firm will begin next month.

The Swindon Housing Company, wholly owned by Swindon Borough Council, will start work on 14 specially adapted two-bedroom bungalows on Pilgrim's Close in Shaw.

The private venture was criticised last month by Labour councillors after it was revealed it had not build a single house since it was set up last year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than £400,000.

Some of that cash might be clawed back however.

When the new homes are finished the profit from the sales will go back into the council coffers, to be spend on local services and take pressure off the squeezed social care budget.

Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “This is a very important development because it will not only bring in much-needed revenue to support council services, but it will also allow people to live independently for longer helping to reduce the considerable pressures on our adult social care budget.

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “We have been working closely with ward councillors across the borough to find suitable Council-owned sites that will allow the Housing Company to build the homes that people need.

“These bungalows are a perfect example of how the Council can make best use of its parcels of land to bring forward a scheme that will bring huge benefits to the local community and I look forward to many more schemes coming forward in the coming months and years.”

One of the issues that has prevented the housing company from managing to complete houses is getting planning permission.

In December the planning committee rejected a plan by the company to build four houses on land in Sparcells Drive.

The assisted living homes have been designed to help reduce the need for people relying on social care services to be more independent.

They benefit from being wheelchair-accessible throughout, have rear patios and off-road parking.

On top of that they are strategically located to nearby amenities, including local shops, a doctor's surgery, post office, and close to public transport links.

The new homes are expected to be completed in the spring of 2020 and will be available to buy through Charles Harding Estate Agents.