The waiting list for affordable housing for people with an existing connection to the parish numbers around 70. In our second blog Jonathan Griffin asks: What should our housing priorities be?
If we believe that some development is both inevitable and desirable then what sort of housing targets should we set?
There is no doubt that the priority is for more affordable housing, whether for purchase, part-purchase or for rent. Equally, it is hard not to draw the conclusion that we do not need any more large open-market houses using up valuable green field space.
It is a depressing feature of modern life that few of us can afford to live in the size of house in which we grew up, or even in the same villages or towns. For whatever reason, prices have advanced too far. If we want a vibrant and mixed community then we need to encourage an inflow of young families.
The Council maintains a HomeChoice register of people with a connection to the parish who are looking for affordable houses here. Some may already have found housing in other parishes, but nonetheless, there is a waiting list of up to 70 people.
What would be realistic in the period up to 2030? Should we be planning to house 20, 30 or more or those waiting? If the parish has been growing at around 6 houses per annum then should we be planning for 70 houses in the next dozen years?
This will be a critical decision in the planning process.
Then there is the issue of second homes. St Ives famously voted for a measure which prevented any new house being used as a second or holiday home. If we adopted the same sort of measure in our parish then this would help to slow up the growth in second homes. Would that help?
It is worth remembering that while second homes and holiday homes can lead to a loss of community and a sense of a ghost town in some months, there are some silver linings. Holiday makers spend a lot when they are with us and our pubs, restaurants, shops, boatyards and marinas welcome them. Owners too, tend to require high standards and do not have time for DIY so there is valuable business for local builders and tradespeople.
There is a third area though which rarely gets mentioned: the needs of our oldest residents. Mylor Bridge has a large supply of bungalows which are very suitable for older people, offering single floor living, but the parish contains no sheltered or stewarded housing. Is it inevitable that our older residents will have to leave the parish when they can no longer live independently or might we be able to find some solution to help them to stay amongst the people they know?
The 35% over 65s are going to be at least 80 by 2030 and they may need different types of home. What sort of targets should we set? What levels of growth would be acceptable and what sort of houses might these be?
If these issues affect you, tell us what you think. Or do you have a suggestion to make. Perhaps you know of other places that have tackled similar problems with success?