Cllr Joanna Parry: Holding UDC on meeting the true housing need

What is affordable housing? There is a popular misconception (even among some councillors!) that affordable housing is low cost housing for sale that enables young people to set a foot on the housing ladder.

In fact, affordable houses are nearly always rental. They are owned by the Council or by a housing association and are rented at below market rates. They are social (council) housing, and it would be less confusing to everyone if this term was used in place of the word affordable.

Occasionally a new development of social housing may have several that are part-ownership. The purchaser buys a portion of the house, usually up to 80%, and pays rent on the remainder.

If the housing is owned by the Council, homes will be allocated according to its waiting list. Housing associations usually give priority to local people.

When new developments over 15 houses are being planned, there is an expectation that 40% of these will be affordable. Developers frequently try and wriggle out of this requirement, as the profit is much less than that for market-rate housing.
We should all hold the Council to account in ensuring that these much need homes are provided on new developments.

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