HEA8 - Meeting local housing needs
The Plan seeks to ensure that everyone has access to a decent, safe and affordable home, which is suited to their needs, promotes health and is located in a community where they want to live.
The city will ensure that everyone has access to a decent, safe and affordable home, which is suited to their needs, promotes health and is located in a community where they want to live, by:
- Identifying sites and delivering programmes to develop a range of new and affordable homes to rent and buy, this includes:
- Bringing empty homes back into use and converting vacant buildings into new homes where appropriate.
- Enabling older people to promote, secure and sustain their independence in a home appropriate to their needs, including through the provision of housing across all tenures in sustainable locations and through the provision of Disabled Facilities Adaptations. This will include increased provision for retirement accommodation, extra care and residential care housing.
- Enabling the provision of high quality housing for younger people and that considers specialist needs and ensures that young people can live close to their families in Plymouth.
- Bringing forward suitable self build and custom build opportunities to help meet identified needs in the city.
- Increasing choice in housing by greater utilisation of the private rented sector, including new build private sector rented accommodation (Build to Rent).
- Deliver an increased range of specialist housing such as accessible wheelchair accommodation and supported accommodation to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
- Targeting intervention and resources to improve the standard, quality and management of private sector housing.
- Focusing on the tackling and prevention of homelessness, including rough sleeping, and its wider impact.
- Tackling fuel poverty through supporting supplier switching, fuel debt relief, and community-led energy supply services, and promoting domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency.
- Ensuring decent housing is recognised as a key determinant of health and wellbeing.
Complementary use of planning powers will be made to ensure that housing development provides an appropriate number, form, mix and type to meet the needs of all sectors of the community.
The policy aims to ensure that every householder in Plymouth has a decent home and that the city's housing market matches the needs and requirements of current and future residents. It is supported by Policies DEV7, 9 and 10 of the Joint Local Plan.
Inadequate housing exacerbates the impact of child poverty and causes or contributes to many preventable diseases and injuries, including respiratory, nervous system and cardiovascular diseases. Poor housing is estimated to cost the NHS nationally at least £600 million per year. To achieve this aspiration, proactive measures are needed to overcome a number of challenges the city currently faces. For example:
- Plymouth's relatively high concentrations of poorly maintained and fuel inefficient private homes occupied by older and vulnerable low income households.
- More than 13,500 households are currently in fuel poverty.
- Over 17,000 private rented homes and 50,000 owner occupied homes are an EPC band D or below.
- Over 5,000 social houses are considered to be non-decent.
- Relatively high levels of debt and housing affordability are a barrier to accessing housing.
- The need for housing adaptations for Plymouth’s rising population of elderly or disabled people, so that more people can live independently and safely in their own homes.
- The need to utilise private rented accommodation more effectively so that households in need can access decent private rented housing much more quickly, and in areas of their choosing.
- The need to focus activity on prevention of homelessness and rough sleeping at the earliest possible stage and address the wider causes and impacts of homelessness. The causes and consequences of homelessness are broad and extremely damaging to health, wellbeing and life chances.
There is a significant need for more affordable homes in Plymouth - even the lowest property prices to be found in the city are over six times the earnings of those on the lowest wages. In order to ensure that people in housing need in Plymouth can access affordable homes, the policy sets out a multi layered approach combining proactive work with affordable housing providers to bring forward the construction of affordable housing developments.