Tackling homelessness, providing more affordable housing, and making homes more energy efficient to help save both energy bills and address climate change, are just some of the issues Torbay residents are being asked to give their views on as part of a new consultation.
The Housing Strategy supports the Community and Corporate Plan 2019-2023 to ‘improve the delivery, affordability and quality of housing’, ‘regenerate and re-invent our town centres’ and to ‘encourage a sustainably developed built environment. It also supports Torbay’s Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plans.
Torbay currently has more than 1,600 households registered with Devon Home Choice who need a permanent home, as well as around 80 cared for children in a similar position. Need on the Housing Register increased by 50% since 2018.
The Local Plan Update recommends that Torbay builds at least 300 homes a year, of which up to 30% should be affordable, depending on site location. This figure is currently being consulted on with residents as part of the Local Plan Update public consultation, to ensure we get the balance right between easing housing demand and protecting our environment.
The following priorities are highlighted in the Housing Strategy:
-Improving housing supply
-Improving housing quality
-Improving housing support
The Strategy also outlines three cross-cutting principles:
-Putting our customers first
-Tackling climate change
-Working in partnership
Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “We really want to hear your views about our new Housing Strategy – it’s a very challenging time and it is essential that Torbay residents get to have their say on local housing priorities.
“Like other parts of the country, Torbay is facing a housing crisis. The number of people who need temporary and permanent accommodation is rising, but there is a shortage of properties.
“Rising demand and house prices have added to the pressure in the rented sector. More than a third of the Bay’s housing is rented and up to 70% of households in rented accommodation claim some form of housing subsidy. However, we only have eight per cent social housing compared with the national average of 18 per cent.
“The rising cost of living is placing even greater burdens on hard-stretched families, and some are finding themselves homeless or in need of temporary accommodation through no fault of their own. We have more than 1,600 people registered with Devon Home Choice who need a permanent home as well as around 80 cared for children in a similar position.”
Deputy Leader Darren Cowell said: “We are working with partners to improve housing supply in Torbay including through working with Neighbourhood Forums and identifying the town centre brownfield sites identified in the Paignton and Torquay Neighbourhood Plans, delivering 100 new homes on the Preston Down Road site, purchasing up to 37 homes to meet current demand for temporary accommodation, commissioning two Extra Care homes of 150 units to meet future older people supported housing need, and working to deliver new homes through Tor Vista.
“We are also creating a new Empty Homes Officer post to lead on bringing empty properties in Torbay back into use.
“In addition we will continue to lobby the government for the change required on things like Local Housing Allowance Rates and we will explore all available solutions to make Torbay an even better place for people to live in.”
You can find out more and complete the survey here.
The consultation closes on Monday 5 December 2022.
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