Housing crisis ‘pricing people out’ in Devon

Members of Barnstaple Town Council are urging the Government to help alleviate the current housing crisis in the region.

Lewis Clarke www.devonlive.com

Councillor Peter Leaver put forward a motion which was approved at the council’s meeting declaring a crisis in the rented housing market in the area.

He told the meeting that the situation has become ‘heartbreaking’ in North Devon with stories of people being made homeless.

Cllr Leaver said: “Parishes across North Devon including Bideford and Ilfracombe have declared a crisis in the rented housing market in their areas.

“I’m asking that we do the same here in solidarity with them.

“I’m sure that all of us who have been on Facebook or who watch the television have heard the heartbreaking stories of families being made homeless in North Devon through no fault of their own. This is because of the change in private renting.”

He said private rented accommodation was now being used for holiday lets, meaning as tenancies come to an end, people had nowhere to move into.

“The blame for this is being talked about; faults in the planning system and the council not getting its act together, although our district council is doing a lot about this,” Cllr Leaver added.

“It has to be said North Devon has over-delivered on housing in the three years up to January 2021 by one and a half times what is expected.

“All of the major housing allocations in the Local Plan now have at least outline planning consent.

“This is not a matter of building ourselves out of a problem, there are other measures which need to be taken into account.

“This motion asks the town council to recognise this crisis in North Devon which affects everybody, not just the coastal communities but towns as well.

“Secondly, we write to our MP and government to propose some straightforward measures which can be taken very quickly to help alleviate the problems happening this autumn as we move into winter for people likely to lose their houses.”

Cllr Ian Roome backed the motion, saying: “North Devon needs more social housing to rent.

“The increase of people claiming Universal Credit is 114 per cent in England but in Devon 144 per cent.

“In North Devon it is 188 per cent of over 50s claiming.

“It’s because homelessness is not only about homes, but also about wages.

“We pay less in North Devon than anywhere else.

“The house prices are sky high compared to anywhere else. We need more social housing for rent, not to buy.

“People can’t get a mortgage, and people are being priced out of the housing market.”