Monday, 3 April 2017

'Affordable Homes' in Rochdale & Beyond?

6,374 - 33 = 6,341
by Andrew Wastling  

TODAY's report from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Joint Greater Manchester Combined Authority & AGMA Executive Board Scrutiny Pool , Social Housing , (Councillor Richard Farnell, Portfolio Lead, Planning & Housing & Eamonn Boylan, Portfolio Lead Chief Executive for Planning & Housing, 7 April 2017), reveals that  just  164 so-called 'affordable homes' were secured through Section 106 agreements with developers.  Only 20% of these, or in actual numbers , 33 homes were for so called 'affordable rent' - itself more expensive than 'social rent'.

This same report (1). adds that:
'By contrast, there remain low levels of new affordable homes being delivered through the planning system via s.106 agreements, where the challenge of scheme viability makes it difficult for authorities to secure affordable homes in a G[reater] M[anchester] market context.  The latest figures from CLG show just 164 affordable homes secured in 2015/16, 80% of which are for affordable home ownership or shared ownership. That total is a significant increase on previous years, so it may be that this is the start of an upward trend, though it is too early to be confident.'

Readers can draw their own conclusions on claims that these figures represent  'a significant increase on previous years', I am sure!

The report goes on to confirm that  Rochdale has  a total of 6,374 households on the housing waiting list.  Additionally of Rochdale's dwelling stock in 2015 only 21,370 was non Private Sector whilst we had over three times , or 70,070 , dwellings in the Private Sector -  numbers which tell their own story simply by themselves.

Isn't building homes for those in desperate housing need a much more constructive solution to Britain's severe housing crisis than criminalising and fining the homeless as Rochdale Council seem intent on doing with their draconian PSPO - Public Space Protection Order ?

These figures also beg the obvious question of is it really wise to consider  'some options of demolition'  of College Bank flats, when we clearly already have such considerable unmet housing need already in our town ?

Finally I'm just wondering how many, if any at all, of these 33 'affordable homes' were actually built here in Rochdale to meet our growing local housing need or to house the 6,374 households on our waiting lists?

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