Market engagement exercise for Better Homes project

 

Monday, 14 September 2020

Our commitment to ensuring a good quality home for all continues to progress with the launch of a market engagement exercise as part of our Better Homes project.

Described as understanding the art of the possible, we are contacting registered providers of social housing and housing developers about their opinions for developing more homes that are affordable for residents of the borough.

The demand for affordable housing in the borough is high and while we have made good progress in recent years, more needs to be done to meet our ongoing housing needs and to address the gap between average house prices and average wages. For many people, especially younger people, getting on to the housing ladder is a real challenge.

Using a sample of sites we own, which are within existing development limits or already allocated for housing within the borough’s Local Plan, the engagement exercise will help inform the market of our ambitions and obtain views from housing providers and developers on ways in which future collaboration could take place.

Cllr Carl Maw, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities and Housing, said:

"The market engagement exercise is a key milestone in the first phase of this hugely important project to build more high quality housing that is affordable for our residents. It gives us an opportunity to better understand the current market and gives the market the chance to understand our requirements too."

While the project’s main focus is providing new homes, it is also linked to our economic development plans for the borough, including reducing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local economy.

Nearly 50,000 people are employed in the borough, yet the area lags behind in terms of wage levels. Workers in the borough earn on average £507 per week, compared to £574 per week for workers across the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding areas, as well as the Great Britain average wage of £587 per week. This makes it harder for the residents of the borough to get on the housing ladder. At least 40% of the employed clients of Scarborough Citizens’ Advice claim in-work benefits.

Cllr Liz Colling, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, said:

"Now more than ever, affordability of a new home is a key challenge for many people living and working within our communities. We have introduced a number of economic policies to respond to and help with our recovery from Covid-19, including encouraging our employers to pay the UK Living Wage. At the same time, we are committed to providing a greater quantity of high quality affordable housing. Both aspects are key to encouraging our residents to remain within our communities as skilled and valuable contributors to our local economy and be part of building a better borough for the future."

An update on progress will be brought to future meetings of our Cabinet.