'The housing market is broken': How Scarborough Council aims to help provide homes in the borough

A specialist affordable housing unit is to be created to help Scarborough Council meet its target of creating almost 1,000 new properties before March 2021.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Saturday, 2nd May 2020, 10:15 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd May 2020, 10:18 am

As part of its ‘Build a Better Borough’ programme the authority is exploring how it can deliver better quality and increased numbers of affordable homes to buy and rent within the borough.

The council’s 2018-2021 Housing Strategy set a target to help facilitate the development of an additional 820 affordable homes over a five-year period.

To date, 525 affordable homes have been completed, with up to a further 350 due to complete by March 2021.

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However, the council says that new risks and emerging challenges are likely to put the sustainability of its “ambitious” programme in the longer term in doubt.

The council’s housing officers have estimated that the potential affordable housing delivery figures for the period 2021-2026 will be lower than the numbers achieved during the current period.

The council says it will now look to explore ways in which it can support key workers to achieve an affordable and environmentally sustainable home of high design and build quality, as well as optimise the number of affordable homes of this type.

On May 12 the authority’s cabinet is being asked to approve the start of a programme of work to help achieve the council’s aspirations.

Cllr Liz Colling, cabinet member for Inclusive Growth, said: “We are absolutely committed to helping people in our communities get a high quality and affordable home for life, to buy or rent.

“The housing market is broken and we are determined to do all we can to give our residents every opportunity by exploring new and innovative ways of delivery.

“This initiative will enable us to create an aspirational, fairer and more inclusive society.”

If the cabinet approves the recommendations, the council will establish an internal housing delivery project team, identify council-owned land suitable for housing and work with registered providers of social housing and private developers.

Affordability of housing remains a key challenge for many people living and working within the borough.

Average wage levels across the borough are significantly lower than the national average, which makes it more difficult for people to get onto the housing ladder or rent suitable accommodation.

Data from Citizens Advice also indicates that at least 41% of their employed clients claim in-work benefits.

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