Kirklees has a desperate shortage of council homes yet is having to sell them off way below market value.
All Kirklees councillors will discuss a motion put forward by the ruling Labour Party that aims to address “the growing housing crisis” in the borough.
The motion to Wednesday’s Full Council is signed by council leader, Clr David Sheard, plus Cabinet members Clrs Jean Calvert, Cathy Scott, Graham Turner and Steve Hall. The councillors say: “There is a lack of good quality, energy efficient and affordable homes across all tenures to meet the varied needs of local people.
”Too many of our citizens do not have suitable places to live in and bring up their families now. Together with demographic changes, demand will continue to grow and new homes of all types are required urgently right across the borough.
”We do not have enough council houses to meet demand.
”Private sector rents are rising, short term insecure tenancies do little to stabilise communities and quality too often falls short of acceptable standards.
Click below to see how much average house prices have risen by since 2000, broken down by Huddersfield postcode.
”Owner occupation is now beyond the reach of many of our citizens as depressed wage levels and price rises make mortgages unobtainable and unaffordable, as reported in the Examiner only a few weeks ago.”
They say that secure, warm and affordable homes can improve health and they want the support of Full Council to bring forward ideas to address the housing crisis. They have ideas and it’s likely more will be put forward tomorrow.
Among Labour Party ideas is one to provide 1,200 new homes on mixed tenure developments over the next four years. The aim is that 400 – a third of them – will be council houses or classed as affordable houses and some could meet the needs of older people or those with specialist needs.
But the council faces difficulties in making it happen – a planning application this week shows that hospital bosses proposing up to 200 houses in Crosland Moor say a requirement for affordable housing may make the scheme unviable and they want talks with the council to resolve the issue, which could halt regeneration plans.
Kirklees Labour Party also wants to tackle the issues around ‘right to buy’.
Due to the government scheme, Kirklees Council has to agree to sell council houses if tenants want to buy them, and in 12 months they had to sell them at a combined £4m discount on the market value.
The debate comes ahead of Kirklees re-launching its Local Plan that will set out land allocation and future use of land for the next decade and beyond.
The debate takes place in public tomorrow at 6pm at Huddersfield Town Hall.