New Affordable Housing Partnership for the West of England
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A new partnership called HomesWest has been established to help deliver more new affordable homes across the West of England.
The partnership is made up of Bath & North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council working with 18 housing associations.
The new partnership is designed to make it easier for new affordable housing to be built in the West of England region as part of an effort to meet housing needs.
By working together, the four authorities and housing associations are able to share best practice and support the development of housing and planning policy more efficiently. All the partners of HomesWest recognise the unique housing pressures experienced in all the four council areas and wish to work together within a flexible partnership that meets all the local authorities’ needs.
The partnership also reflects the needs of different housing associations that wish to work in different areas or might be better suited to meet the specific local needs of one of the authorities.
HomesWest is an open partnership that welcomes new housing associations to join it in order to further improve the capacity in the West of England to deliver affordable housing.
Cllr Tim Warren, the Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “This partnership will seek to increase the supply of good quality, sustainable, affordable homes in the West of England. Through HomesWest we can work together for our mutual benefit at a regional level, but it also allows us to work at a very local level and address the specific issues we have in our own local authority areas.
“In Bath & North East Somerset, the affordability of housing is a real challenge with the second highest income to house price ratio in the South West. We have an ambitious Core Strategy target to deliver 12,956 homes – including 3,290 affordable homes- before 2029. The Council’s new administration is committed to working through HomesWest to deliver affordable housing, including rural housing, by engaging with communities, landowners, local politicians, the voluntary sector, funders and investors. HomesWest will enable us to do this more effectively”
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s deputy leader whose portfolio includes housing, said: “We welcome the establishment of the new HomesWest partnership. By working in partnership we will be best placed to meet the challenge of delivering the affordable housing needed by our local residents and communities. The benefits of safe, healthy and affordable homes are well documented. The provision of jobs through the development of new homes and our partnership with education and training providers and employers will also provide employment opportunities for local residents and enable us to help ensure our new communities are sustainable.”
Cllr Ben Stokes, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Adults and Housing Committee, said: “We look forward to working with our housing association partners at HomesWest to deliver an increase in the supply of good quality, sustainable, affordable homes across South Gloucestershire.
“We face an ongoing challenge to ensure that planned growth supports our commitment to creating sustainable communities. Our adopted Core Strategy sets out a total of 28,355 new homes to be built in the area up until 2027, which includes a 35 per cent affordable housing target. Working in partnership in this way will help towards meeting this challenge. Together, we can maximise the benefits that investment in affordable housing brings in delivering well-planned, healthy, safe and sustainable communities.”
George Ferguson, Bristol Mayor, said: “I hope that this new partnership will help us achieve our challenging goal of delivering 1,000 new affordable homes a year for Bristol. Working with neighbouring authorities allows us to share best practice and make the most of the combined resources that are available to us. We hope that this partnership will help us to continue to deliver high quality, affordable homes to mixed and balanced communities throughout the city.”
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