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New mayor faces call to tackle West of England housing crisis

Words: Huw Morris

Social landlords and homebuilders have joined forces to call on the West of England’s first mayor to commit to tackling the region’s housing crisis.

A mayor for the new West of England Combined Authority will be elected next week with new powers for housing, planning and infrastructure across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

At least 150,000 homes are needed across the region in the next 20 years to keep pace with projected households and years of undersupply, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF) and the Home Builders Federation (HBF). This is 45,000 more homes than proposed by West of England local authorities.

Between 2006 and 2016, the number of completed affordable homes was 8,800 – just 22 per cent of the overall planned supply. The need for affordable housing in the region is now greater than ever, say the trade bodies, because the average house price is more than 10 times the typical regional salary, while the cheapest homes are 7.3 times the lowest household incomes.

The trade bodies say they need politicians willing to create the policy framework to tackle the crisis. “Strategic thinking will be vital in tackling the housing crisis and the new mayor has a critical role in ensuring everyone in the West of England Combined Authority has access to good quality and genuinely affordable housing,” said NHF external affairs manager Katie Teasdale.

HBF director James Stevens said: “Delivering the homes the area needs will help to address acute social needs but also provide a huge boost to the local economies.”


Image: iStock