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Housing shortage in Gloucestershire hits hard

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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THOUSANDS of people in Gloucestershire could be left fighting for a home with the region facing a massive shortage of new housing.

In Stroud and the Forest of Dean, waiting lists for social housing are among the fastest growing in the country.

A new report by the National Housing Federation says waiting lists for social housing have leapt by more than a quarter in 20 years.

And in Stroud and the Forest of Dean, the lack of affordable housing is particularly acute.

The waiting list for social housing in Stroud grew by 32 per cent in just one year, up from 1,966 in 2010 to 2,605 households in 2011.

And in the Forest of Dean the increase between 2010 and 2011 was 29 per cent rising to 2,261 households.

The NHF says the shortfall of homes in Gloucestershire is pushing up house prices and private rents, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford to rent their own home, let alone buy one.

The report adds that we are building less than 60 per cent of the homes we need in the South West.

One in 12 households in the South West is now on the waiting list for social housing.

The NHF has predicted that rents in the private sector could increase by 62 per cent over the next ten years.

Forecasts warn that the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom home in Gloucestershire will rise from £775 in 2012 to £1,256 in 2022.

Current average monthly rents for a three-bedroom home are £904 in Cheltenham and £664 in Gloucester.

Buying a house in Gloucestershire is increasingly unaffordable with the average home costing £230,782 – over 11 times the average local wage.

In the Cotswolds, average homes cost £334,715 – 20 times the average local wage.

Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: "We now face the very real possibility that an entire generation will be priced out of being able to rent a home, let alone able to buy one.

"With rents set to rocket – particularly from 2015 – there are fewer and fewer choices open to people who want to live here."

Gloucester city has bucked the trend seeing a 13 per cent reduction in the waiting list to 3,884 households in 2011.

Mattie Ross, Stroud District Council executive member for housing, said it is building more affordable rented houses. Last night the council executive was expected to approve plans to build 100 council houses on its garage sites. "We want to build new houses, perhaps not as fast as the rate I would like but we are doing our bit," said Councillor Mattie Ross (L, Stonehouse).

"There is a very fine line between building very high specification homes and building as many as we can.

"The garage sites plan is very innovative, and we don't have the land cost because we own the land."

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  • 2dooks  |  November 14 2012, 12:52PM

    This government should grow a pair and protect green belt land, (which many a long year ago meant that it wouldn't be built on, seems to have fallen by the wayside somewhat) by passing a law to stipulate that in any area, all brownfield sites should be developed before considering anything else. If this actually happened there would be no need to build elsewhere, my knowledge of where I live and also where I work and hail from tells me that this is certainly true in both of those areas, and hence is probably indicative of the national situation. When I'm in power green belt will be green belt lol

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  • North Glos EPC  |  November 14 2012, 11:24AM

    "Housing shortage in Gloucestershire hits hard"??? Rubbish. Why is the assumption made that there has to be housing provision for local population increase or to cater for anyone who might want to move into the area? If existing empty or revamped low standard housing is brought back into use and if the correct type of new housing is built on brown field sites there is no problem. But no, developers argue that the only way forward is to build large executive houses on green field sites. However this will simply attract people from afar, place even more strain on local infrasrtucture and do nothing to solve the real problem of shortage of affordable homes for people already here. Think, before destroying irreplacable counrtyside. Think, before turning Gloucestershire into another urban sprawl.

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  • ignoramous  |  November 12 2012, 3:51PM

    JUMP OF A LORRY IN DOVER AND HEH PRESTO YOU ARE IN CLOVER

  • Bonkim2003  |  November 09 2012, 4:18PM

    honslknjklyt - unemployed single parent with five children all from different fathers who cannot be traced to claim child support.

  • honslknjklyt  |  November 09 2012, 2:24PM

    What does one have to do to qualify for social housing? There are people paying high rents in accommodation, who will never get out of it but won't qualify. People in private accommodation can never make their home a home as unlike social housing, the security is not there.

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  • bonzaharris1  |  November 09 2012, 1:14PM

    yes darrellglos, I think they do. I live in the stroud area, they are building 21 affordable houses in an orchard round the corner from where I live. I think it is going to be housing association but I am not sure.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 09 2012, 1:14PM

    Interesting most have insight to the problem/s but local authorities just don't have the will to tackle the genie. Mass housing units can be constructed for around 60 or 70K, the main issue is planning land - the coalition planning policies are all directed to the points being made on this blog - empty homes, use of brownfields land first, enabling rather than restriction and controls - may be local authorities just don't like the easy way - but bent on establishing their dominance on such an essential matter. Regards the economics of high prices - regrettably many more family units being created due not only to increasing population, but also break up of the traditional family units and greater separation/isolation of individuals from traditional family support systems - it suits developers/speculators to maintain the scarcity and extract top dollar. It is a free market system - and many councils have squandered tax money subsidising social housing in collusion with developers rather than find how best to bring down cost of housing - the largest component in their hands - planning control.

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  • Matt1006  |  November 09 2012, 12:54PM

    Bonkim2003 / GlosResident1 - yep, sadly the greenfield option is far easier, and with greater potential profit margins, than a brownfield (possibly contaminated) site. I'm sure all Local Planning authorities have detailed lists of vacant brownfield sites (if only through Business Rates records), so know without much effort how much potential residential development land they have sat in their areas, without letting more virgin fields be tarmaced over. I'll bet the independent developers have similar lists too. Not only do the existing CPO powers need sorting out, but the planners need to tighten up on the permissions they issue for greenfield development when there is available brownfield land in the locality. But this won't happen, as the developers won't allow it to happen. It should be what's best for the community that should be the driving factor, not the developer's profit margins.

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  • darrellglos  |  November 09 2012, 12:52PM

    Do Stroud build Social Housing?

  • bonzaharris1  |  November 09 2012, 12:37PM

    From what I gather, they are going to make mortgages harder to obtain in 2014. If they do that, then people will not even be able to afford to buy so called affordable houses, because they will not be able to get a mortgage. Mortgages are not exactly easy to obtain now. Take into account, the more you build the less excess water can drain away. If the weather we have been experiencing over the last few years continues, all these nice new houses, plus existing ones will be prone to flooding.

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