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Bromsgrove Lib Dems call for more affordable housing and action on empty homes

October 27, 2020 6:03 PM

Local Lib Dem councillors have called for more to be done to encourage best use of housing after it was revealed there are 163 empty homes in the district. They also insisted changes to the planning system should make new homes more affordable for local people.

At last week's council meeting on Wednesday 21 October a key item on the agenda was the Government's Planning White Paper and reforms to the housing need formula which could see Bromsgrove's housing requirement increase from 379 new homes a year to 694 homes. Councillor Town Socially Distanced

The Lib Dems submitted an alternative motion calling for action on empty homes including council tax premiums for homes that have been empty for a long time.

Cllr Rob Hunter who submitted the motion said: 'We absolutely must make the best use of existing homes before we sacrifice fields to build new ones. It's shocking so many homes are being wasted at the moment. Other councils have already acted on this. It is time Bromsgrove did too.'

There are 163 homes in the district that have been empty for more than two years. This includes 21 that have been empty for more than five years and 15 that have been empty for more than ten years.

The Lib Dems also called for a stronger focus on affordability. At the moment developers looking to build new estates in Bromsgrove only have to provide up to 40% that are specifically designed to be affordable to local people in housing need.

Cllr Siobhan Hughes said: 'We shouldn't be sacrificing our fields for more and more so-called executive homes that local people can't afford. We need housing targets that are proportionate to our small town, but that deliver genuinely affordable homes through programmes like shared ownership and social rent.'