Warm welcome for plan to build new council houses

ouncillor Simon Myers, North Yorkshire Council's executive member for housing. Picture: LDRS.

Community leaders from across the political spectrum have backed a drive to build an unlimited number of council houses in response to North Yorkshire becoming the second most unaffordable county in England for residents to buy or rent property in.

In a rare display of harmony at North Yorkshire Council, councillors unanimously approved the Conservative-led authority’s housing strategy until 2029 after Tory councillor Tom Jones proposed its aim to build 500 council homes should be changed to being a minimum baseline.

A full meeting of the authority at County Hall in Northallerton heard elected members call for the county to become “a beacon for social housing”.

The council’s executive member for housing, Councillor Simon Myers, underlined the strategy was designed to provide a holistic response, rather than just housebuilding, to the “huge” housing challenge facing the county.

He said the lack of suitable housing was serving as a drag on economic growth, preventing skilled workers from living in the county and leading to the depopulation of the county’s national parks and an increasingly ageing population in the county.

Coun Myers added while a “considerable number “of council houses would be built over the coming five years, the authority would seize opportunities to increase the volume of social housing.

He said: “We all know the results of this are damage to people’s wellbeing and mental health where their housing provision is poor or they are in temporary accommodation or substandard private accommodation.”

The meeting heard although the introduction of a council tax premium for second homes in the county showed the council’s commitment to increasing housing provision, the authority’s planning committees continued to approve the change of use of large numbers of homes to holiday lets and land for tourist accommodation which could otherwise be used for housing.

Whitby councillor Phil Trumper said the strategy would go a long way towards addressing housing issues in the seaside resort, where prices have been forced up second homeowners.

A number of councillors said housing officially defined as affordable had become unaffordable for many people and social housing, such as council houses, were desperately needed.

Councillor Kevin Foster, who represents Colburn, questioned whether the authority should stop allowing tenants to buy its social housing as the stock was depleted and many people were facing becoming homeless over “no-fault evictions”.

Meanwhile, Tony Randerson, Independent councillor for Eastfield in Scarborough, one of the largest social housing estates in the county, said the fact that just 12 per cent of North Yorkshire’s households were social housing was “an absolute disgrace”.

Coun Randerson said it meant the Scarborough area had 2,000 people “living without the sanctuary of a permanent roof over their heads”.

He said many of those people had been on the housing waiting list for years and rather than the strategy’s target of 800 affordable homes a year suggested a target of 500 new council homes a year would be more appropriate.


  1. Most should be located on Brown sites. The Beauty of the Dales should be reserved if it’s going to continue to attract tourists. Where buildings have to go up in the Dales. Please NO pebbledash, instead use local stone. NO component parts re doorways etc. Instead add customized variety. No more fake Georgian facades. If people wish to see ‘modern’ concrete, glass and chrome they can go to the city. Crowds come hear to escape all that. IF our Architects have no ambition look elsewhere.

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