Affordable and empty properties hope to re-invigorate Welsh housing

Housing Estate - - 466911

The Welsh Government’s plan to build 7,500 new affordable homes by 2016 looks to be a step closer to completion, after it was announced that the government will be adding new substantial financial investment into the project.

The new financial investment promises to introduce a new innovative mechanism, which will enable the Welsh Government to find £140m over the next few years and deliver 1,100 new homes in Cardiff and across Wales.

The Vale of Glamorgan AM Ms Jane Hutt has said that the varied number of policies and measures set out by the Welsh Government has already boosted the new affordable homes plan by £400m. The plan was originally set out in 2011, and with the extra £160m set to been introduced by the Welsh Government chances are that the project will come true this time.

She also added:

“Due to the UK Government’s economic policies, the UK economy has hardly grown since 2011 and remains smaller than it was in 2008. Growth prospects for Wales are likely to remain subdued for some time to come. As a Welsh Government, we are determined to use the tools currently at our disposal to support the housing sector in Wales by boosting the supply of affordable housing in tough times.”

Nevertheless, the new plans have received a mixed response from other members of the government. This announcement comes a number of weeks after the Welsh Government chose to scrap its NewBuy scheme. This means that over 3,000 homes that would have enabled buyers to have loan-to-value mortgages will no longer be built. Conservative AM and Shadow Minister for Communities and Housing Mark Isherwood was quick to point out flaws in the plan:

“While this is very welcome, it is too little too late. While any additional investment to increase the availability of affordable housing is welcome, the announcement of new homes by 2016 will be little comfort to those families needing help purchasing their first home and left stranded by the Welsh Government’s withdrawal of its mortgage underwriting scheme, NewBuy, which has been available to home buyers in England and Scotland since 2012.”

Property redevelopment plans to help shelter Cardiff’s homeless

While the plans to build 7,500 new and affordable homes may help to tackle the problem of housing in Wales, it will have little to no effect on the homeless rate across Wales, especially in Cardiff. Homelessness in Cardiff is an ever growing problem. Thankfully the Cardiff Community Housing Association, along with Cardiff Council have teamed up to revamp 40 properties in Cardiff to tackle this issue.

The 40 revamped properties in Adamsdown and Splott will provide temporary accommodation for up to three years for homeless people and families and will be redeveloped over a 16 week period by construction company Bullock. The redeveloped properties will feature brand-new facilities including kitchens and bathrooms as well as improved insulation which will enable residents to run the properties more efficiently and less expensively.

Speaking on the refurbishment project, Bullock’s regional manager Scott Brassington said:

“We’re delighted that we’re continuing our relationship with Cardiff Community Housing Association on a scheme that will deliver such a worthwhile outcome for some of the city’s most vulnerable people. The 40 homes we’re working on have been empty for some time now. Renovating them and bringing them back into use will not only regenerate communities, but importantly will support Cardiff Council in bringing empty properties back into occupation.”

Kevin Protheroe, Cardiff Community Housing Association’s chief executive also shared Scott’s view saying:

“There is a major shortage of good quality rented accommodation in Cardiff and this scheme with the council and Bullock will enable us to go some way in providing good quality, secure, warm homes for the families and individuals who will be living in them.”

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12 June 2013


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