‘Housing action needed to reverse exodus of young people’

New houses in West Witton.

A local authority facing an exodus of young people due to the shortage and unaffordability of housing will consider how it can up action to reverse the trend after it emerged the number of properties being built and given planning permission has plummeted.

A report being considered by the North Yorkshire and York Housing Board on Monday states different areas are seeing a huge variation in the number of affordable homes being built.

The report states the industry is facing “challenging conditions for affordable housing delivery”, especially outside Hambleton, Harrogate and Ryedale.

The latest figures for affordable housing in Ryedale show the district reached 120 per cent of its target by mid-year.

However, the same figures for the similarly rural areas of Richmondshire and Craven show just two and four properties, respectively, were completed compared to targets of 71 and 69. York and Scarborough and Selby districts have all seen less than 30 per cent of their target for affordable houses completed.

Mid-year figures show the number of properties being given planning permission across North Yorkshire and York has fallen to 1,567, less than half the number of homes given permission at the same time in 2020, while in 2019 almost three times the number homes were given consent.

A report to the board states while its mid-year target for house completions stands at 3,358, the number completed by the middle of this year was only 1,948, far below the volume of finished properties in 2020 and 2021.

Councillor Simon Myers, North Yorkshire’s planning for growth executive member, said the latest figures showed the scale of the challenge to help reverse the county’s age imbalance and increase productivity facing the new unitary authority when it launches on April 1.

He said he was optimistic with a unitary council and combined authority the county would have greater leeway and resources to tackle the housing shortage, adding one potential solution included building on the 8,400 council houses the unitary authority will manage.

Coun Myers said: “It is poor that across North Yorkshire and York only 43 per cent of the affordable housing we need is being built. There are all sorts of reasons why unaffordable housing adds to stresses and strains in North Yorkshire, including residents’ wellbeing. We have a drain of young people that we need to retain and we are not doing enough as local authorities.

“Councillors across the board recognise this is a really big problem for North Yorkshire. We are going to see how we can help directly. The sites are there in the local plans and we must do our utmost to bring them forward.”

Richmondshire council’s planning committee chairman Councillor John Amsden said the low affordable housing figures partly related to several housing estates being delayed, but added developers were not building some developments due to increased costs and falling property prices.

He said the planning committee was very aware of the need for affordable housing in the district and pushed to maximise the number of affordable properties at every opportunity and prevent developers from lowering the proportion of affordable homes after gaining consent for estates.

Coun Amsden said: “Cost appears to be affecting the number of affordable houses being put forward and built now, .and it costs even more in the Yorkshire Dales National Park as the sites aren’t very big. We have got the planning applications, it’s just getting the houses built.

“It took 15 years for affordable housing to be built at West Witton and so-called affordable that has been built at Bainbridge was priced at £250,000, which isn’t affordable at all for local people.”

1 Comment

  1. It took 15 years to build at West Witton obviously because there was no demand. The so called affordable houses aren’t that affordable, I’m not convinced that they are filled with local people!! and two houses just built at the opposite end of the village with a 106 local covenant on ie local connection are £365k and £375k what local young family has that money. Utterly ridiculous, why did the planners bother putting on the restriction!!

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