New so­cial homes at an all time low

No af­ford­able hous­ing built in South Bucks and Chiltern last year

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Tom Herbert tom.herbert@trin­i­tymir­

NO NEW so­cial hous­ing was built across the whole of South Bucks and Chiltern last year, fig­ures re­veal.

And ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DCLG) only 70 so­cially rented prop­er­ties were added to the mar­ket through­out Bucks in 20132014.

This is the joint low­est num­ber of new so­cial hous­ing stock on record, and 82 per cent fewer than the num­ber built in 2010-2011.

But it is a sim­i­lar tale across Eng­land as the num­ber of new houses made avail­able for so­cial rent has fallen by 72 per­cent. Chal­font St Peter Parish Coun­cil Chair­man Linda Smith said: “We do need more af­ford­able hous­ing but it’s find­ing the sites in Chiltern.”

She added: “It’s a big prob­lem in this area, be­cause of the high cost of land. 88 per cent of Chiltern is green­belt land – we have re­stricted amounts we have to build on and that is our big prob­lem.”

So­cial hous­ing is de­signed to give ac­com­mo­da­tion to fam­i­lies who are strug­gling fi­nan­cially, with rents typ­i­cally set at around 50 per cent of the mar­ket value.

In the past three years the gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced a new scheme where rented homes are be­ing added to the mar­ket with rents set at 71 per cent of mar­ket value.

In 2013-14 19,740 of these houses were added to the mar­ket sug­gest­ing that these new, more ex­pen­sive homes, are set to eclipse so­cial hous­ing over the next few years.

A South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil (SBDC) spokesman said: “It is cor­rect that there were no new af­ford­able homes de­liv­ered in South Bucks in 2013 – 2014 with di­rect sup­port from DCLG fund­ing. How­ever, SBDC did de­liver a to­tal of 19 ad­di­tional af­ford­able homes in the dis­trict in 2013 – 2014. These were de­liv­ered by Lon­don and Quad­rant Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion with­out fund­ing from DCLG but with fund­ing sup­port from the coun­cil. They com­prised 12 new build prop­er­ties and seven ac­qui­si­tions of ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties.”

A Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil (CDC) spokesman said: “CDC does not own or man­age hous­ing stock but works with var­i­ous hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions to en­able af­ford­able homes to be pro­vided within the dis­trict. In 2013/14 we pro­vided fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to Par­a­digm Hous­ing to ac­quire eight af­ford­able rented prop­er­ties. In ad­di­tion Par­a­digm built a fur­ther six af­ford­able homes, mean­ing a to­tal of 14 af­ford­able rented prop­er­ties were pro­vided in the dis­trict that year.”

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