County Council’s commitment to tackle Northumberland’s housing challenges
August 1, 2019
County Councillors are set to rubber stamp a new housing strategy for the county to tackle the housing needs of young residents, the elderly and those living in rural communities.
The council is committed to increasing the availability of affordable housing and will seek to facilitate the building of up to 1,000 new homes for rent, including the building of new council housing, to meet the current and future needs of Northumberland residents.
The strategy also outlines plans to support vulnerable groups including the elderly and those with support needs, by providing specialist affordable and accessible housing with adaptations to help elderly residents maintain their independence in their own home.
Residents, stakeholders and town and parish councils have been given the opportunity to share their views on the strategy and at the forthcoming cabinet meeting councillors are set to give their final seal of approval, giving officers the green light to start on its delivery.
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for housing, planning and resilience said: “This is set to be a landmark decision for the county.
“We’re determined to provide quality affordable housing for rent and make a real and meaningful difference in tackling the growing demand for homes in the county. This strategy lays out how we will do this.
“With a population of just over 300,000 people spread over almost 2,000 square miles, the reality in providing the right type of housing, in the right place, is far more challenging than it might first appear.
“The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the people of Northumberland and it is a particular problem in some rural communities. We need to retain young people in the county to support our growing economy and ensure our communities, local businesses and services continue to thrive. To achieve this we intend to help create places where people can aspire and afford to live.”
Potential development sites within the council’s ownership are currently being evaluated
to support the delivery of affordable housing across Northumberland. To meet the needs of residents and aspirations of the council, affordable housing will be provided of varying types with options for the elderly, families and for single people.
Council officers are also currently working with developers to secure affordable housing as part of the planning process.
The strategy also recognises the need to support vulnerable groups by providing specialist housing for older people and those with support needs.
Northumberland has an ageing population with the number of the over 65’s set to increase by 42.4% from 74,494 to 106,079 by 2031. This will present significant challenges to make sure older people are properly housed and supported.
Furthermore, around 34,000 households in Northumberland have at least one family member with a physical disability; half are over 65 years old.
Cllr Riddle added: “Northumberland has a higher than average ageing population which is set to grow and we need to make sure older people are able to maintain independent living and if necessary, supported in their changing housing needs.
“Providing housing that is well-designed for an ageing population and those with disabilities or other long term conditions and ensuring affordability is another key priority for the council.”