Wednesday 2 November 2016

Interim Affordable Housing Policy

Press Release

At the last Full Council meeting the ruling Conservative and UKIP administration brought forward an Interim Affordable Housing Policy. This document attempts to define a policy for section 106 agreements, where developers agree to an element of affordable housing within any significant development.

‘Affordable’ means different things to different people. What is affordable to some is not affordable to others.

Cllr Ware-Lane is concerned that this barely addresses the housing crisis impacting our town: "This document talks about affordable housing, but what we need specifically is more social housing to rent. With private sector rents sky-high, many local people are struggling to afford decent places to live."

Cllr David Norman added "This is a weak document. We witness many examples of developers trying to evade their responsibilities."

Cllr Norman added: "I hope the current administration recognises the chronic need for new social housing in the borough. I was proud to have been the Portfolio Holder that oversaw the first new council housing in the borough for a quarter of a century."

1 comment:

  1. I would like to draw your attention to an article in the Guardian by Patrick Butler, 5/10/16 p. 40, 'Is this mobile home the answer to middle England's housing crisis?'and also 'Absolutely prefabulous' by Paul Bignell in the i on 4/11/16, p.45/46.The latter article mentions LoCal Homes in Walsall, which is a 10,000 sq ft. factory that produces 200 homes per year which are physically built by only 12 people. The company is developing a whole new modern approach to social housing. LoCal uses cutting-edge technology adapted from Norway to develop low carbon houses with a keen environmental friendly approach. As a student of 'environmental resources' at Salford University, I visited experimental social housing that had been built at an extremely low cost and was so environmentally well engineered that they drew virtually no electricity from the national grid - and that was in the 70s! Although the prefabs of the 50s sometimes get a bad press (I spent most of my childhood in one). They solved a deep housing crisis at the time. Some were better than others but the people I knew that lived in them, loved them and were reluctant to leave. They even came with a fitted cooker and fridge - unheard of in those days. What I am trying to say, is yes, we desperately need social housing at truly affordable rents and they needn't cost the earth, the technology is out there. Coming back to Southend, I am currently putting up a friend on a makeshift bed downstairs who was made homeless when he got a job. His housing benefit was instantly stopped and he still can't afford a flat. There are thousands like him, hidden away sleeping on friends' sofas, so they are not counted in official statistics. The homeless on the streets are just the tip of the iceberg.


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