Launching our Joint Housing Investment Plan.

David Dickson, our Chair of Infrastructure Board announces the launch of our Joint Housing Investment Plan. 

Collaborative working

Developed in collaboration with Homes England and all our Local Authorities, the investment plan aims to help the YNYER LEP area continue to deliver our local housing growth ambitions – providing 50,000 high quality new homes, including 16,000 affordable homes, by 2027.

The investment plan comes on the back of significant success, as we have successfully worked to double the rate of housebuilding over the last five years – a target set in our 2014 Strategic Economic Plan. As ever, collaboration was at the heart of this success.

Revitalised approach.

We’ve now seen many local authorities take a new and re-vitalised approach to housing, moving beyond simply administering housing permissions to measuring actual build rates, enabling and championing housing growth and new ways of delivery. The Joint Housing Investment Plan now aims to focus on increasing the right type of housing, in the right places.

Focusing on quality of place, connectivity and community, the plan foregrounds that the needs of our current and future economy can only be met through a housing offer that retains and attracts working age households, whilst also supporting our ageing population. 

Investment themes

In order to achieve the ambitions laid out in the plan, we seek support and investment around three main themes:

  • Accelerating the delivery of homes on Ministry of Defence (MOD) land, sites in public ownership and opportunities on stalled private and Brownfield sites.
  • Working with providers of Off Site Manufactured (OSM) homes to meet both current and future needs, while increasing capacity in this sector.
  • Promoting rural sites to support communities and better enable SMEs, Local Authorities, Registered Providers, communities and self-builders to contribute to delivery.

Affordable Housing – an absolute priority

An absolute priority for investment is to tackle the poor and worsening affordability of housing within York, North Yorkshire and East Riding. Similar to parts of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Kent, house prices in the area have now risen to between 6.4 and 10.4 times more than the mean local income, highlighting the urgent need for increased delivery of affordable housing. House prices in York are almost 10 times local incomes and, whilst York may have been voted the UK’s best place to live in recent years, the trend needs to remain inclusive and help play a role in the city’s aspirations for significant economic growth. 

Cllr Richard Foster, Chair of the Housing Board, said of the progress so far, “It’s really pleasing to see that our ambitious targets have been met and that our relationships with house builders of all types are bearing fruit. This investment plan will ensure we continue to work in partnership to identify and overcome obstacles and provide the homes that households in our area so greatly need.”

Housing growth means economic growth

With significant contributions having already been made to our local economy as a result of the housebuilding increase, the investment plan now gives us the opportunity to work with Homes England to take it further. As an enterprise partnership, no one growth factor is ever viewed in isolation and our privileged strategic position in the region allows us to look more broadly at the needs of the regional economy. We can help to ensure that the construction industry has the skilled workforce it needs to deliver the plan, while also creating significant opportunity for that workforce to be grown locally.In total, the Joint Housing Investment Plan outlines that a possible 15,000 to 25,000 new homes could be secured over the next 3-5 years, while the required investment could potentially see this rise to 16,800 and 28,000 homes.

Innovation: community and environment

But what kind of homes should be built, and what benefits can be brought to communities? It could be that there is a lot to learn, particularly when looking to address affordable housing from independent organisations, such as YorSpace, based in York. Co-founded by Architectural Designer, James Newton, YorSpace want to build co-operatively owned, low-cost, environmentally sustainable homes that create and sustain community. When talking about the project, James explains that co-operative living allows residents to take control of their housing and manage it collectively as a community, in an affordable way. This is something which could have great potential to provide for those of the older generation, who may need extra care and support.

The Joint Housing Investment Plan is vital to the growth of our region. Our people need access to affordable housing, particularly in more rural areas and this investment will help secure that. Everybody deserves the right to appropriate housing.

This article was originally published in the Yorkshire Post 29/01/2019.

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