Friday, 24 August 2012

USING EXISTING BUILDINGS TO MEET HOUSING NEEDS IN KENT

Kent Green Party is concerned that the Government is considering loosening planning laws for new house building, once again. Steve Dawe comments:
“The Government is considering reducing planning controls on new housing. This threatens to re-open the debate over planning and protection of forests which damaged the Coalition before. The Government does not need to do this.
“Kent Green Party research shows that there are over 23,000 empty homes in Kent and Medway(1). This would house about half of the 45,000 households on social housing waiting lists in Kent and Medway(2). But we have no figures for long-term empty shops, office spaces or derelict industrial estate buildings in every district which could also be converted for housing. Clearly, all of this resource can be put into use, given political will to do so.
“A typical deposit for buying a house in South East England in 2011 had reached just over £70,000(3). Add transaction costs to this, and it is easy to judge that most home purchasers are already home owners(4). This means social housing created from existing buildings is going to be the quickest route to the cheapest homes for most people in Kent for the foreseeable future. Vigorous efforts to reduce mortgage costs with a variety of deals do not alter the fact that over half of households have declining incomes, and food and energy bills conspire with factors like student debt to make saving difficult or impossible for most households.”


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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe, Press Officer of Kent Green Party, on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above. Steve Dawe works for Kent Green Party & as a Lecturer in Public Policy. Promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. Monthly free ezine KENT GREEN NEWS available for subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org
Notes:
1.    No Use Empty: http://www.no-use-empty.org/empty-property-surveys National stats on empty properties – Kent from line 255. It should be noted that only 7,000 properties have been empty over 6 months, suggesting these should be a priority to put into use.
2.    Kent and Medway have about 45,000 households on social housing waiting lists, a 60% increase on 10 years ago: SEE: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/2039614.xls and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-16314241 (which wrongly lists 45,000 PEOPLE instead of households).  The distribution of this is 10,391 in Medway and 34,711 in the Kent County Council area: total 45,102.
3.    Lisa Bachelor, House Prices rise three times faster than wages Guardian, Saturday 18th August 2012.
4.    Not too surprising when Zoopla, 23rd August 2012, indicates the average home in Kent is selling at £232, 072. See www.zoopla.co.uk for sales prices in Kent and Medway.

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