Affordable Housing

 

 Affordable housing and Blakeney Parish Council

For information on what housing is currently available to local people in the Blakeney area – click here.

Introduction – The Affordable Housing Issue

As you may know, Blakeney Parish Council attaches very great importance to the provision of more affordable housing in the village. Why do we place such great emphasis on this issue? The answer, as we explain here, is that affordable housing for local people should matter to everyone, and not just to those in need of local housing.

As a democratically-elected body, the Council must reflect the wishes of the community, and the question of affordable housing attracts more local concern than any other substantive issue. There are good reasons for this. 

What is the problem?

The heart of the problem lies in the relationship between the average price of houses and average earnings. In Blakeney, this multiple is far, far higher than most other places in Britain, for two reasons:-

  • A high proportion of jobs in the village are in hospitality and retail, where wages tend to be below-average.
  • House prices here are extremely high, which affects not just house purchase but also the level of rents.

This causes great hardship, particularly for local young people who would like to stay in their home village but simply cannot afford to do so. But it also creates a range of other difficulties and challenges which range far beyond those actually affected by the inability to find a home locally.

The shortage of affordable housing greatly restricts the number of local people who can live in Blakeney. This in turn reduces the overall full-time resident population. A number of adverse effects could arise from this if no action is taken.

Does this concern me?

Yes. You do not need to be on the housing list for this issue to be of great significance to you.

Here’s why:-

  • All Blakeney residents, including those with their own homes, should think about this. A reduction in the resident population could put vital local services at risk through lack of use.  Just one example of this concerns transport, where the Council has already campaigned, successfully, to retain our vital bus link to the hinterland.  If you live in Blakeney, are not on the housing list, but value your local services, affordable housing affects you.
  • Businesses in Blakeney need employees, and practicality suggests that most of these will be drawn from the local community. Obviously, any decline in the number of local residents, and of young people in particular, is likely to pose recruitment and retention problems in the future.  So, if you run a business here, affordable housing affects you.
  • Visitors, too, are affected, though this may not be obvious. A diminution of local full-time residency is bound to undermine and dilute the essential and distinctive character of Blakeney. Taken to extremes, the lack of affordable housing for local people could ultimately turn Blakeney, and villages like it, into a Norfolk theme-park, a prospect which, surely, no-one, visitor or resident, could view with equanimity. Visitor or resident, then, and if the character of Blakeney matters to you, affordable housing is important to you.

What is the Council doing?

There is a great deal that Blakeney Parish Council, local organisations and the wider community can do together to progress this issue. Here are some examples:-

  • The Parish Council can act as an enabler for affordable rented housing.
  • We can canvas and campaign on the issue, raising its profile.
  • Funding can come from a variety of sources, including an initial contribution of £15,000 from the Council itself.
  • We can work with relevant organisations such as housing societies.
  • We can have an input to the balance of planning decisions, an input that can be even more pronounced if residents join their voices with ours. 

Can I help? 

Yes. It is in everyone’s interest to support affordable housing. If you agree with us on the importance of affordable housing, please consider the following:-

  • Write to us, expressing your support – each supportive voice helps us.
  • Write to your Norfolk County Councillor, your North Norfolk District Councillor and the planning department at NNDC expressing your support for affordable housing. This really matters.
  • By all means write to the Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, Mr Norman Lamb MP, in support of this issue.
  • Support existing, locally-based housing organisations (such as the Blakeney Neighbourhood Housing Society), and any future fund-raising activity on this issue. Every £ helps the cause.
  • Discuss affordable housing with others, to help garner support for the issue.

May 2010 

Click on the link below for Notes on our meetingG 18/11/09 with NNDC Housing Enabling Officers concerning Affordable Housing

NNDCHousingMEETING09

Follow this link for the New Homes Bonus Big Society Fund Briefing Note from March 2012

Outline New Homes Bonus