Crucially though the total number of dwellings it’s allowing to be built by 2031 is still a questionable 5,300.
New builds and permissions granted since April 2011 are also included in this total, meaning an average of only 265 houses per year is being allowed county-wide.
That’s all very well in terms of the environmental impact, and it is certainly the case that the fewer number of houses built, the better it is for our surroundings and the planet. But what about the people.
Well, data released by Herefordshire Council themselves in September 2014 showed that annual need for affordable housing across the county stood at 692 units per year. Not only does this greatly exceed the allotted 265 per year, it totally outstrips supply: just 39 units of low-cost housing where built in the first half of 2014/15, an annual shortfall of 614 properties. We’re just not getting enough housing.
These figures don’t take into account the demand for Gypsy and traveller pitches: 83 additional sites were said to be needed between 2008 to 2012. As of the end of September last year only 47 had been created.
And while the average two-bed property rented from a housing association in Herefordshire costs £78.10 per week, the same property in the private sector can cost around £145 – close to double the amount! It’s too expensive.
What Herefordshire needs is a large number of new socially-owned, low-cost, energy-efficient dwellings across the county to really start sorting the housing problem. What we get is developers building large, expensive homes for the well-off middle classes.
Stop building these homes! They’re not what’s needed. Start providing for local working class people instead!