On Wednesday 27 February Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the strategy which sets out how local housing needs will be met over the next five years.
The Calderdale Housing Strategy 2012 – 2017 covers priorities including the number and size of new homes required; affordability; fuel poverty; housing for disabled and older people; and getting on the housing ladder.
Calderdale Council carried out a public consultation on the first draft of the strategy, and used feedback from this to shape the final version to be considered by Cabinet.
The strategy highlights the Council”s commitment to working with residents and other organisations to tackle housing needs and achieve important benefits for the borough. The strategy covers a wide range of issues but two key themes are:
- Equality of health and wellbeing
Good housing is central to good health. As energy costs increase, so does the number of households that struggle to afford to keep their homes warm. It is estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of households in Calderdale are living in ‘fuel poverty’.
Calderdale Council continues to support these people through schemes that help to improve the condition of homes, reduce overcrowding and make housing and heating more affordable. For example, work has started on the construction of 172 new affordable homes in the borough, and the ‘Safe and Warm’ project aims to improve safety and heat efficiency in 2,500 more homes by March 2014. An estimated 5,000 residents will benefit from lower energy costs through ‘collective energy switches’. The boroughs first switch, launched in January 2013 and run in partnership with councils in Greater Manchester, will create estimated average savings of £122 per household per year. More than 2,000 Calderdale residents applied to take part in the scheme. The next collective energy switch is planned for April, and people can register from early March.
The steps taken to improve affordable warmth and reduce fuel poverty will also help to cut the carbon emissions created by households in Calderdale; and building more affordable homes will support a thriving local economy by creating jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.
- Supporting older people
By 2030, Calderdale’s population will see a 55 percent increase in the number of people aged over 65. There is a need to provide more purpose-built, quality homes targeted at older people, especially those who need a higher level of care.
The Housing Strategy outlines the Council’s plan to open an additional 110 units of Extra Care accommodation across the borough by 2015, working with housing providers and the Homes and Communities Agency.
The Council will continue to support older people to stay independent in their own homes safely for longer. It will share information and advice with people to encourage them to think about future housing options at an earlier age.
Feedback from the Council’s public consultation on the Housing Strategy highlighted that more schemes are needed to help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder, especially if they want to buy their own home. Over the next five years, Calderdale Council will: work with Penning Housing 2000 and other social landlords to remove age restrictions on apartments; work with local house-builders to improve access to home ownership; and work with landlords to create more good-quality shared housing opportunities for young people.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, said:
“It’s a very difficult time for the housing market. Public funding for housing is in retreat and private sector house building is the lowest it has been for some time. Despite this, the Housing Strategy demonstrates the great, innovative work the Council and other organisations are doing to maintain a flow of new local housing and to make the best use of the homes we already have in Calderdale – for example, bringing empty homes back to life.”
The final Calderdale Housing Strategy 2012 – 2017 will be available at www.calderdale.gov.uk