Community-Led Housing to the Rescue
“The Johnson Conservative Government is now planning for South Worcestershire to become a very big profitable “fleshpot area” for private housing developers.” This is the view of Professor Barry Jones, Trustee of the South Worcestershire charity, EngageMalvern, following the recent issue of the Government’s new planning policy White Paper.
Professor David Tweats, Trustee and Chair of EngageMalvern says “There will be an unfettered scramble to develop new housing for high profits which will not meet the pressing needs of young people trying to get onto the housing ladder or older people in our society looking to downsize and certainly will not provide any truly affordable housing”.
EngageMalvern has just announced its Autumn 2020 plans for a major survey of truly affordable housing needs amongst communities and businesses across South Worcestershire, initially in the Malvern area.
The survey will address both the housing needs of under 35s seeking truly affordable housing and the over 65s seeking to downsize whilst remaining independent. Questions on intergenerational housing to address the issues of isolation, loneliness and improved health will be included, as will a question on house exchange and sharing.
Local residents and businesses will receive detailed questionnaires set out in leaflets which they can return either online or by post. The results will be analysed by the long-established and independent charity, Community First, who will produce a detailed report later due to be made available to all government agencies, local authorities, councils and businesses in South Worcestershire in Spring 2021.
EngageMalvern is actively promoting not-for-profit Community-Led Housing(CLH) for South Worcestershire. The charity is exploring suitable zero-cost and low-cost land sites and links with community-type housing associations. It is in regular discussion with the local authorities in the area, and has been studying relevant and successful CLH in other parts of the UK and in other countries.
Another of the supporters of this major CLH initiative, Cllr Beverley Nielsen, Independent Councillor on Malvern Hills District Council says, “I am very pleased to be supporting the work of both EngageMalvern, and Malvern Hills Community Led Housing Group, given the importance of what they’re looking to do in supporting our residents in Malvern through community-led development. I’m hearing from residents and businesses alike about the growing shortage of affordable housing in Malvern.
“The government’s new proposed methods of calculating future housing needs are very worrying indeed, but they do require a higher proportion of affordable housing. In Malvern Hills we are looking at increasing from 30% to nearly 60% of affordable homes each year. One way we can help to do this is through a community-led housing policy for Malvern Hills.
“We desperately want housing for our young people, for the apprentices and rising talent needed by our growing high tech businesses, for the key workers in education and healthcare, and for our elderly who want to live amongst the community they have known all their lives. EngageMalvern is looking to develop practical solutions to these pressing needs.”
Notes to Editors:
EngageMalvern, (http://engagemalvern.org.uk/) chaired by Professor David Tweats, is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered in 2017, with the following objects:
To develop the capacity and skills of the members of the socially and economically disadvantaged, and socially disadvantaged communities of Malvern and its surrounding villages in such a way that they are better able to identify, and help meet, their needs and to participate more fully in society.
The advancement of education for the public benefit in Malvern and surrounding villages in South Worcestershire and North Herefordshire in the areas of citizenship, science, religion, philosophy and ethics.
Community First: is at the forefront of sustainable, robust community development in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. They specialise in providing high quality advice and support to community groups and organisations to help them grow and meet the needs of the communities they serve.
For further information contact:
Professor David Tweats, EngageMalvern Chair. Mobile tel: 07742 337093
Cllr Beverley Nielsen. Mobile 07940 228818
Professor Barry Jones, Stancombe House, 38 Moorlands Road, Malvern WR24 2UA
EngageMalvern Trustee. Mobile tel: 07932 917557