Exploding the Vearse Farm myth

Up to 186 new affordable rented homes could be built on the proposed Vearse Farm housing development. That is great news for those people in Bridport who are struggling to pay high private sector rents, many of whom are on low incomes. But exactly how affordable will these new homes be? Will they really solve Bridport’s affordable housing crisis?

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) defines affordable rent as up to 80% of local market rent. So, what does that mean? The cheapest three bedroomed homes available for rent at the moment in Bridport cost £750 per month. 80% of that is £600 per month. Is that affordable? The accepted wisdom is that rent should be no more than a quarter of a household’s gross income. So, for £600 per month to be genuinely affordable the household income needs to be at least £28,800 per year and yet the median household income in west Dorset is £25,659. Therefore more than half of households in west Dorset would not be able to pay the so called affordable rent on a three bedroomed home. So, will the new affordable homes on Vearse Farm solve our housing crisis? Of course not. It is really quite shameful that local people are being led to believe that West Dorset District Council’s housing plans are going to solve our affordable housing crisis when it is simply not true.

What is really needed is social rented housing but there are no plans at all for any new social rented housing on Vearse Farm.

Roy Mathisen,


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