12:00PM, Friday 22 June 2018
A councillor has reiterated the Royal Borough’s commitment to affordable housing after a Freedom of Information request revealed there are hundreds of applicants on the social housing register.
A request made by the Advertiser revealed there are 882 people on the waiting list.
The waiting list is split into three categories: urgent requirement to move with the greatest housing need, requirement to move with a lesser housing need, and desire to move.
Housing associations across the Royal Borough have built just 109 homes for social rent since 2014.
Housing Solutions built 51 in the Maidenhead area in the past three years and has plans to build a further 71 in the next three. Radian has built 58 in the borough.
Principal member for housing Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green) said the borough was committed to providing affordable housing in the area with a mix of affordable units including shared ownership, affordable and social rent.
He said the housing crisis in the Royal Borough was a particular challenge with homes at almost 15 times the average salary but pointed to the fact that affordable housing had increased 525 per cent year-on-year since Cllr Simon Dudley had become leader of the council in 2016.
He said: “For people at the bottom end we know some people just can’t afford to buy at theses levels and there needs to be a safety net there.
“It’s a big issue for young people and those who have fallen on hard times.
“Morally and ethically we think it’s right to support people and it’s vital we build social housing on all our sites.”
Cllr McWilliams said it was also right that the government was looking at streamlining the planning process and looking at the issues of land banking and speculation.
He said the adoption of the Borough Local Plan would help stop developers from getting out of their affordable housing commitments with viability assessments.
“But we have to look at it on a site-by-site basis,” he said.
“We’re committed to 30 per cent affordable on each site with a mix on each site that includes social homes, and I think were moving forward and taking steps in the right direction.”
Director of operations at Housing Solutions Steve Woodcock added: “I think the onus is on all providers to work in partnership with council and central government. We always try to make the best use of our sites and our stock.
“We’re committed to building more social homes and have a range of schemes than can help residents with things like downsizing or moving into shared ownership for example, to helping them start their own business and get back into work.”
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