A new £5 million development of 38 houses for affordable rent has been opened by social housing provider Stonewater, highlighting – the firm argues – a crisis in the housing market.
The opening of the new one, two and three-bedroom rental homes in Bisley Old Road, Stroud, coincided with the publication of Home Truths 2016/2017, the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) annual report on the state of England’s housing market.
The report showed that, at £266,033, the average cost of a home in the Stroud area was more than nine times the average local salary, with typical private sector rents almost a third (30 per cent) of local workers’ take home pay.
“This latest Home Truths report highlights how frighteningly unaffordable housing has become for people on average local wages, many of whom are having to go without other necessities such as food and heat, to pay for a roof over their head,” said Jonathan Layzell, executive director for development for Stonewater.
The firm managed an estimated 8,200 homes in the West of England and has a turnover of £160 million.
“These new Stonewater homes in Margaret Hills Place highlight the vitally important role housing associations play in tackling the shortage of affordable housing in Stroud and across the South West.
“For every £1 of public money we receive for building new homes, Stonewater invests another £6 of its own money to create a range of different types of affordable housing across a wide mix of tenures.”
Stonewater worked with Stroud District Council to deliver the new housing community, a mix of eight energy-efficient one-bedroom apartments, 19 two-bedroom houses and 11 three-bedroom family homes.
The development has been funded by Stonewater helped by a £380,000 Homes and Communities Agency grant and £130,000 from Stroud District Council.
“As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis, says Jenny Allen, external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West.
“The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out.
“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis.
“The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”
Margaret Hills Place was named after the first woman to be elected to Stroud District Council in April 1928.
Pictured: NHF Home Truths and Opening Event Margaret Hills Place, Stroud, Gloucestershire. Pictured, from left James Bradbury, Head of Development (West) for Stonewater, Cllr Mattie Ross, Chair, Stroud District Council, Housing Committee, Cllr Simon Pickering, Chair of Environment Committee, Stroud District Council, Cllr Chas Townley, Jonathan Layzell, Chief Executive for Stonewater.