Bridport Housing Crisis – Please Help
I am very concerned that so many younger people in Bridport are unable to afford to buy their own homes. I also recognise that many people there are having to pay very high rents for accommodation in Bridport.
These high prices are the result of a simple fact. Lack of supply. If there is not sufficient supply of anything that people need then prices go up. It is that simple. Smaller homes in Bridport are too expensive for local younger people to buy because there are not enough houses of that type. Privately rented accommodation is so expensive that tax payers appear to be paying out over £2,000,000 in Housing Benefit per year in Bridport for people who cannot afford to pay the rents for private accommodation! That is because there is not enough low cost rental housing. I think that is outrageous.
This housing shortage is not just a local problem, it is a national problem. The main cause is that up until the early 1980s Local Councils were building around 100,000 council houses a year. The Thatcher government decided to sell off council houses to their tenants and that was arguably a good thing. The problem was that they also stopped giving the councils the money to build more council houses so the country has been losing 100,000 new homes each year for decades. Hence the current housing crisis. That is totally irresponsible!
I have done quite a lot of research into this and I feel that the new housing policies that have been devised for Bridport are flawed. West Dorset District Council have prepared a Local Plan for West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland and this plan is almost certainly be accepted and implemented. The housing provision for Bridport that is contained in the Plan simply does not address the housing needs if Bridport.
Bridport needs quite a lot more housing to cater for the needs of the younger people who already live there.
It has to be the right type of housing in the right places and at the right prices. The Local Plan DOES NOT DO THIS.
I have written a detailed paper on this problem and I have sent it to our MP, Oliver Letwin and to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Greg Clark. In this paper I have asked that a panel of experts be set up to look at the specific housing needs in Bridport and come up with ways building the right properties in the right places at the right prices. For the people of Bridport.
Below is the Executive Summary of the paper I sent to Letwin and Clark. I have also sent it to West Dorset District Council and to Bridport Town Council. I am very grateful that Bridport Town Council responded positively. Council leader Cllr Sarah Williams said ‘This is a very interesting document that raises a number of issues.’ The full response is attached to this email. That is very, very helpful.
Affordable Housing – beware!
A key point to be aware of is the term Affordable Housing. This appears a lot in articles about our housing crisis. Affordable Housing is in fact defined as being priced at 80% of the market rate. Reducing rents or house prices in Bridport by 20% will not mean that lots more local people would be able to afford them. Anybody in Bridport will tell you that. What we need is LOW COST housing !
So, I have done quite a lot of research into the housing needs in Bridport and I have sent my suggestions to Mr Letwin and Mr Clark in the hope that they will help. What are the chances of me succeeding? Well as a solitary local citizen with no public profile then I estimate my chances of success as being nil. Or even less than nil.
For there to be any chance of a constructive review of housing needs in Bridport taking place, a lot more people than just me need to ask for it.
I am asking you to read the work that I have done and decide whether or not you broadly agree with what I have discovered and what could be done about it. You do not have to agree with absolutely everything of course. If you broadly support what I think needs to be done then please will you do these two things.
- Write or email Mr Letwin and Mr Clark to tell them what you think. It can be a long message or a short simple message. Their email addresses are below.
- Send this email to all your local friends and ask them to email Mr Letwin and Mr Clark as well. If you do that then it can become very powerful. For example, if you send this to ten of your friends and they also email Mr Letwin and Mr Clark then that would mean they would each get eleven emails. If your ten friends send it to ten of their friends and they each send emails then that would make a hundred more emails plus the original eleven. If those hundred people each send it to ten of their friends then that would make a thousand emails. And if they all got ten of their friends to send emails then that would make ten thousand emails. That is powerful!! It is the old idea of a chain letter but it is so much easier by email. The power of modern technology. Use it!
- You could also write to the local press or to your local councillors.
- You could also email me to tell you what you have done then I have an idea of what is happening.
- Also, please let me know if you have any queries.
The email address for Mr Clark is [email protected]
The email address for Mr Letwin’s Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Angela Charles, is [email protected]
YOU MUST INCLUDE YOU NAME AND ADDRESS ON YOUR EMAIL TO PROVE THAT YOU LIVE IN MR LETWIN’S CONSTITUENCY
Below is a summary of the housing paper that I have sent. The full paper is attached to this email. Please read it and the other attachments on this email.
Thank you for reading this. I hope you will take action. If you do, then together we can make a difference.
Please do it as quickly as you can to help the people of Bridport to get a fair deal on housing. They need your help.
- There is a critical low cost housing shortage in Bridport.
- Nearly 40% households in West Dorset have an income of £20,000 or less – probably a lot less.
- This means that many residents are simply unable to afford to buy a home. In addition there is insufficient low cost rental accommodation available so that 25% of rented properties attract housing benefit which suggests that around £15 million per year is spent on Housing Benefit in West Dorset. That need not happen.
- House prices in Bridport are so high that they are almost high as similar properties within the M25 so younger people are leaving Bridport because higher London salaries enable them to get on the housing ladder there. Bridport is losing a generation of its population because of its housing crisis.
- That is completely wrong.
- The draft Local Plan is still not approved and in place. This means that the District Council are unable to turn down planning applications for housing. It is widely known that a developer intends to obtain planning permission for 760 houses on an area of outstanding natural beauty before the Local Plan is in place.
- These houses are mainly middle income housing. There is no evidence of any need for more of that type of housing.
- There is a critical need for low cost homes.
- This paper proposes that a Panel of professionals be set up to explore ways in which low cost housing be devised and delivered for Bridport using private sector funding. This to be carried out in liaison with the Neighbourhood Planning process.
- The above process could provide a model for similarly affected areas in the UK.