South West housing providers call for ‘crisis summit’

October 9, 2008

Chiefs of the South West’s house-builders, housing associations, housing professions, and employers have called for the region’s Minister to chair a “Housing Crisis Summit”.

Ben Bradshaw, Minister for the South West, is being urged to convene a summit of the region’s housing providers and politicians to tackle the biggest housing crisis in the country.

Leaders of the South West Housing Initiative, Britain’s first voluntary partnership of the region’s house-builders, housing associations, housing professions, and employers, are urging the regional minister to convene a meeting to explore solutions to the need for 30,000 new homes to be delivered each year to meet soaring demand.

According to Martin Willey, Co-ordinator of the South West Housing Initiative: “The SWHI was created as the UK’s first housing partnership to confront the fact that this region suffers the country’s biggest housing crisis, with the biggest affordability gap between average house prices and average earnings, and one of the biggest gaps between supply and delivery of new homes – especially affordable homes.

“The ‘credit crunch’ has severely worsened that crisis, with even less new homes being built and fewer mortgages being made available,” Mr Willey said.

Meanwhile, the South West Regional Assembly, councillors in Dorset, and a number of South West MPs have now voiced opposition to the 30,000 new-homes target contained in the South West’s new Regional Spatial Strategy.

“The fact remains that the South West is creating 30,000 new households every year, while new housing development has slumped to less than 10,000 homes per year.

“This represents a dire threat to the region’s economy, making it increasingly impossible for the South West’s young people and key workers to find a home. That will force those people to seek homes and jobs elsewhere, and leave this region bereft of its young people and key workers, like teachers, nurses, policemen, fire-fighters, and skilled employees of private companies,” Mr Willey said.

“The time has come to get the politicians and housing providers together to tackle the issue that is threatening to cripple this region.

“The obvious chair of that summit is the region’s Minister, Ben Bradshaw, who announced that the South West’s housing crisis was his biggest priority at the time of being appointed to his regional ministerial role,” said Mr Willey.

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