Hi Sian, Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us this week. The housing shortage is making front page news on a regular basis these days. As a registered social landlord and provider of more than 18,000 homes across Yorkshire, what are your thoughts on the current “crisis”?
In the UK we haven’t been building enough homes for a long time, the National Housing Federation says we are only building half of the homes we need. We hear all the time about people unable to start a family because they can’t afford to move and adults living with their parents in overcrowded homes, and even people at risk of becoming homeless because they can’t afford to keep up with rent or mortgage payments. This is a crisis and the only way to tackle it is to build more homes.
How can the industry go about creating the homes needed to meet current demand across the UK?
It’s all about the public and private sector, and organisations like housing associations working together to make sure we build the right homes in the right places. It’s vital the new homes meet a range of needs such as young people looking to own or rent their first home, families needing to upsize, or older people looking to downsize. Housing should cater for people on a range of incomes with different aspirations.
Yorkshire Housing has a plan in place to build 1600 new homes over the next three years. Can you tell us a bit more about the project and who will be the likely beneficiaries?
We’ve committed to building 1,600 homes as we want to play our part in tackling the housing crisis which is affecting communities across Yorkshire. We want to build a range of homes to meet people’s different housing needs.
A lot of the homes we develop will be affordable rent homes for people on low incomes who are not in a position to look at home ownership. However we’ll also be building homes for sale and shared ownership, to help people onto the property ladder, as well as market rent properties for people who are not looking to buy at the moment.
What are the challenges you are likely to face to complete the plan?
Housing associations are working on a tighter budget than ever so we’ve had to reappraise all our schemes to make sure they offer best value for money.
We also need to make sure we have land to build homes where they are needed. To make sure we secure the land we need we are keen to buy land privately and work with developers who are offering package deals.
We are delighted to welcome you to North England Build 2016 in Manchester in April. What aspects of the expo are you most interested in and what types of companies are you looking forward to meeting?
It’s all about networking – we want to meet others in the industry who we can work with such as contractors or people wanting to sell land. We’re also keen to work with developers to help them fulfil their section 106 obligations. We’ve bought hundreds of homes this way and have a responsive team who will ensure the sales goes smoothly and an expert housing management team so the homes are in good hands after completion.
We’re also government agents for Help to Buy in the Yorkshire and the North East, so we’ll be able to advise about how to get involved in this scheme which has helped thousands of people onto the property ladder and helped builders sell homes.