Local government minister Phil Woolas today spelled out government action to tackle affordable housing issues in Cumbria.
The forthcoming joint structure plan for Cumbria and the Lake District proposes a new policy requiring 50% of homes built outside the National Park to be affordable, and 100% of homes built inside the Park to be secured for occupation by local people or as social housing.
The plan also allocates sites specifically for social housing in the National Park, the first time this approach has been adopted in Cumbria.
The demand for housing in Cumbria, particularly from outside the area, means that many local people have struggled to find a place on the property ladder.
Woolas says: “This government is committed to doing what it can to help. The deputy Prime Minister has met twice with local representatives to listen to their concerns and to encourage new approaches to tackle this issue.
“Through our work with local authorities the Cumbria Strategic Housing Group has received additional 4m funding from the Regional Housing Board this year to provide new homes in the area. This is in addition to the Housing Corporation’s investment of over 20m for 392 units of new affordable housing in Cumbria.
“We need to continue our push to provide affordable housing in Cumbria and maintain sustainable, balanced, mixed communities where people on lower incomes, especially the young and the old, are able to access local housing at reasonable cost.
“The longer-term impact on local services and the rural economy will be severe if people on even average incomes are no longer able to afford to live and work in those communities. We are committed to a varied set of actions to address this issue and I am confident we can continue delivering real progress for the people of Cumbria.”