South Somerset District Council has released its affordable housing strategy which will see 540 additional affordable houses built in the next three years.
The published new strategy includes plans for 270 additional homes by April 2015 and a further 270 homes over the next three years.
The strategy also contains measures to protect the district’s most vulnerable residents and a new policy to safeguard rural social housing vacancies for local applicants.
The Strategic Housing Unit works to provide decent, safe and secure homes throughout the district. The council responds to national, regional and local priorities and ensures that sufficient multi-tenure housing is provided to meet the needs of a changing population.
Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said, “Affordability is now a major factor for many. With rising utility bills outstripping wages, far too many residents of South Somerset are facing the effects of poverty and it seems to be getting worse.
“Our task is not only to create the houses we desperately need, but also to work with the tenants to maintain their tenancies and invest in their homes.”
After a 10-week public consultation, the strategy was given full approval by councillors on 11 December 2014. It is publicly available on the council’s website at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/strategic-housing/.
There are currently 2,211 households registered for rehousing in South Somerset. Anybody in need of affordable housing can register at www.homefindersomerset.co.uk. This is a common register used by all five local housing authorities in Somerset and over 40 housing associations and other such landlords.
In South Somerset, the average house prices remain at over 10 times the local average (median) gross salary, keeping home-ownership out of reach of many of the district’s residents. With an average weekly private sector rent of £142, affordable housing is the only option for an increasing number of people.