'Surveys show Droitwich needs more affordable housing' - The Droitwich Standard
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'Surveys show Droitwich needs more affordable housing'

Droitwich Editorial 24th Oct, 2014 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

THERE is bad news for people looking to get on the housing ladder in Droitwich or rent a property in the Spa after Wychavon district was named among the most expensive in the West Midlands.

Research conduted by the National Housing Federation (NHF) puts Wychavon as the second most unaffordable district in the region, with the average (mean) house price standing at £234,320.

Coupled with that is the average (mean) salary – at £23,832 – being just 9.8 per cent of the average property price.

The NHF said as more people were priced out of buying a home, the number of private renters was increasing.

And, it added, because there was a lack of affordable homes in more affluent areas, middle income earners were needing support to be able to pay for their housing costs.

In Wychavon, almost a quarter of people (22.5 per cent) who rented homes were in work but needed to claim housing support benefits to help meet the cost.

A YouGov poll for the National Housing Federation showed rental properties in Wychavon had seen the biggest rise in the West Midlands between September 2011 and September 2013, beaten only by Warwickshire and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The average rental cost in Wychavon was £644-per-month in 2011, but rose 11.8 per cent to £720 last year.

The National Housing Federation has called on the next Govenment to build more affordable homes.

Gemma Duggan, the external affairs manager for the West Midlands branch of the NHF, said: “Building the right houses in the right places at the right prices is integral to creating stronger communities where people want to stay.

“The housing crisis in the region has been more than a generation in the making so short term schemes aren’t going to fix it for this generation.

“Are we really okay with the idea of some of our towns and cities being priced beyong the pay packets of young people?

“How will our communities survive if young peole can’t afford to live there?

“This is the situation we’re facing if we don’t tackle the housing crisis.”

The Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Mid-Worcestershire Nigel Huddleston said the NHF made a valid point and that he had received a lot of correnspondences about the issue.

“I think every attempt should be made by both local and national government to make sure people can live where they want – especially if there are emotional and family connections there.”

He pointed out David Cameron had unveiled plans to build 100,000 affordable homes-a-year across the country.

And he added with people living longer, people living on their own longer and immigration, the only solution was to build more homes.

Coun Judy Pearce, executive board member for planning, infrastructure and housing at Wychavon, said demand drove up prices for both renting and buying and both were expensive in Wychavon as it was such a desirable and accessible place to live.

“We have been delivering record numbers of new properties in the last couple of years, but prices show no signs of softening.”

She said the good news was the authority was delivering a high proportion of affordable housing for local people and the South Worcestershire Development Plan made provision for a wide range of housing types for the varied needs in all age groups up to 2030.

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