38 affordable rental homes opened in Stroud as local house prices exceed nine times average salary

A brand new £5 million development of 38 houses for affordable rent for local people was opened today by Stonewater, a leading social housing provider, in Bisley Old Road, Stroud.

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The opening of the new one, two- and three-bedroom rental homes at Margaret Hills Place, coincides with the publication this week (2 February) of Home Truths 2016/2017, the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) annual report on the state of England’s housing market. The report shows that, at £266,033, the average cost of a home in the Stroud area is more than nine times the average local salary, while typical private sector rents are almost a third (30%) of local workers’ take home pay.

“This latest Home Truths report highlights how frighteningly unaffordable housing has become for people on average local wages, many of whom are having to go without other necessities such as food and heat, to pay for a roof over their head,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Development. “These new Stonewater homes in Bisley Old Road highlight the vitally important role housing associations play in tackling the shortage of affordable housing in Stroud and across the South West.

“For every £1 of public money we receive for building new homes, Stonewater invests another £6 of its own money to create a range of different types of affordable housing across a wide mix of tenures. This includes homes for low-cost rent enabling those who want to buy to save-up money, as well as affordable shared ownership and good-quality housing for the poorest and most vulnerable members of the communities we serve.”

Stonewater worked with Stroud District Council to deliver the new housing community, which offers a mix of eight energy-efficient one-bedroom apartments, 19 two-bedroom houses and 11 three-bedroom family homes within walking distance of the town centre.

Stroud District Councillor Simon Pickering, says: “Having a warm safe home is essential for everyone. Stroud District Council is committed to providing high quality and good value houses for rent for the residents of the whole district. Working with partners such as Stonewater is an excellent way to maximise use of the council’s limited resources to maximise the number of new homes in the district.

“These houses at Margaret Hills Place have low running costs, are close to a brilliant primary school and some have possibly the best view in the district.”

The development has been funded by Stonewater helped by a £380,000 Homes and Communities Agency grant and £130,000 from Stroud District Council.

“As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis, says Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West. “The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out. This is having a knock-on effect on local amenities, including shops and schools, and is detrimental to everyone.

“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis. The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”

Margaret Hills Place was named after Margaret Hills, the first woman to be elected to Stroud District Council in April 1928. Councillor Chas Townley, who attended the opening ceremony of the new Stonewater homes, proposed the name whilst the scheme was under construction.