Mayoral candidates’ views on affordable housing crisis

Candidates vying to become York and North Yorkshire’s first elected mayor all agree that providing truly affordable housing is key to solving the area’s housing crisis.

However, the six contenders to take up the role after the May 2 election have pledged to oversee diverse actions, from encouraging developers to construct low-cost modular buildings to making new homes more energy efficient.

The pledges, which include contrasting amounts of specific policies, follow concerns being frequently raised across the area over the affordability of housing that is classed as affordable and the number of affordable houses being built.

Last year, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority faced criticism after approving a housing development featuring affordable homes costing up to £320,000, while councillors have also regularly highlighted the lack of energy-saving and sustainable elements.

Parts of York and North Yorkshire have some of the least affordable housing outside the South East of England, with property prices averaging up to 13 times household incomes ratios, particularly in areas of York and Harrogate.

North Yorkshire Council has stated housing affordability is being exacerbated by the county’s low wage economy, with the most common salaries averaging  £20,000 in some areas.

The authority is also set to start charging second home owners a 100 per cent council tax premium in an attempt to free up housing for locals and generate funds to build affordable housing.

Meanwhile, City of York Council has committed to putting 100 per cent affordable housing on council-owned land, saying the city’s desperate need for affordable housing is due to a lack of house building in previous years.

The authority says there is a need for 592 new affordable homes each year, but “the accumulated number of affordable housing completions in York over the last five years is 648.”

Green Party candidate Kevin Foster said “right homes in the right place to the right specification” were urgently needed.

The former soldier added: “Affordable housing must be well insulated so it is cheap to run, and be designed with the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy use in mind.

“We have to address the issue of competition for accommodation between tourism and permanent residents in places like Whitby and the Dales. Local people, many of whom work in the tourism sector which is an important part of the local economy, need places to live near their work and in their own communities.”

Independent candidate Keith Tordoff said he believed providing “modular and environmentally cheap to run houses” on brownfield sites was the solution residents were needing.

He said: “The situation is urgent and this plan will deliver quickly with infrastructure put into place.”

David Skaith, who is contesting the election for Labour, said having average house prices ten times the average salary was unsustainable.
He said: “I will ensure we are building the quality homes that people can afford so they can live and work in York and North Yorkshire. Without affordable housing our economy can not grow and we will continue to lose people and industry to other parts of the country.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Felicity Cunliffe-Lister said she would develop a housing investment plan with Homes England to increase the delivery of affordable homes, while supporting communities with community-led housing schemes.
She said she would lobby to reduce the threshold by which developers had to provide affordable housing in rural areas.
She added: “Housing will also become affordable when the energy costs are reduced and the mayoral fund will be used to increase efficiency in homes with the installation of insulation, heat pumps or hydrogen ready boilers, solar panels and batteries, and double glazing.”
Conservative candidate Keane Duncan said he would help first-time buyers afford their own home by offering discounts of up to 50 per cent.
Pledging to “unlock” 900 new homes within two years of being elected, he said he would protecting countryside by regenerating brownfield sites and .”create thriving rural communities, not museums, with new homes in villages so the next generation are not priced out”.
Independent candidate Paul Haslam said as mayor he would recognise residents of the area had varying incomes and the duty to “provide homes for all”.
He said: “Additionally, in order to retain young people – our talent of tomorrow – we must ensure we have homes they can afford as well jobs that pay well. It’s a priority.”

5 Comments

  1. The word affordable home is all rubbish.

    You don’t go into a shop see something that just says this is affordable it also has a price tag on it.

    This so called affordable housing has to have a set price for a two bed – tree bed etc on it be it in the dales area or the lower areas. Why dose it cost so much more to build at Hawes than Northallerton. Because of the so called holiday homes.
    People years ago didn’t take up needed houses for second homes but had a caravan on a site in the dales area but now the YDNP don’t seem to like this anymore, so drive most local people out of the area because of the shortage of homes.

    If some of the bigger builders don’t like it because of low profit, then I think some other smaller local builders with less overheads and less profit would take it on with the chance.

    These houses have to have a set price on not just so called affordable homes.

  2. We have to make second home ownership in the Dales as unattractive as possible so that our young people can have a hope of having homes of their own

  3. Keane Duncan wants more facial recognition cameras installed. This is Big Brother style paranoia not required in such a low crime area. I agree with the use of Brownfield sites but why do we have such unimaginative architecture where every house looks the same. We should follow the Dutch example and create variety.

  4. Typical of a Tory candidate to make promises pre’ election that cannot be met just like Boris’s promises of millions for the NHS.

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