The current planning system is woefully inadaquete at delivering a steady supply of “affordable” homes for those who need them. Currently an affordable element is only required on a development of 10 or more properties. In rural areas such as Saxon Shore, where developments larger than 10 homes is often inappropriate and damaging to the setting, character and environment, residents are disadvantaged- in as much as- those requiring affordable properties struggle to have much opportunity to secure such a home in the area. Many are therefore forced to leave and seek opportunity in other parts of the Borough. Consequently, we are seeing a local need that is rarely satisfied, with local pople being denied opportunity to aspire to getting on the housing ladder, or to renting a quality and truly affordable home.
I have been looking for the past 2 years at Modular Housing as a way forward, if managed carefully.
A modular home is one that is built in a factory in sections or modules. The finished products are the delivered to their new locations, where they are assembled by a builder. A modular home is not a mobile home; it is simply a home that is built off-site, as opposed to on-site. Because modular homes are built in a factory, they can be completed in a matter of a few weeks, as opposed to months. They don’t see the typical on-site delays caused predominantly by the weather. Modular homes must conform to specific rules, guidelines and building codes that often surpass those of traditional on-site homes. They can also be built for a fraction of the price of an on-site home, can be custom built and are eligable for mortgages.
I am supporting the use of modular housing where appropriate accross the Borough, and am currently in discussions at ABC looking to develop a small number in Saxon Shore. These would be Council owned, would be a mix of rentable and part ownership. They would be earmarked for people with a local connection to Saxon Shore. They would remain in perpetuity for the area, and in doing so will ensure families can remain in the area, and delivering a reduction in those needing an affordable home. It is early days yet, but I would be interested to hear from residents about whether you consider this a good solution for the area.