BOROUGH residents have until the middle of this month to have their say on future housing plans.
With first time buyers struggling to get a foot on the property ladder and home builders hit by the credit crunch, local authority chiefs are drawing up an updated approach to replace policies covering the whole of Cheshire introduced in 2003.
“Housing has become one of the most significant issues in the UK,” said Helen Weaver of the borough council.
“Affordability problems now affect the whole of the country, with key workers and first time buyers struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.
“The Government has set ambitious targets for new housing development but, in light of the current economic slowdown, these targets are increasingly under threat.”
She pointed out that, although Cheshire is often viewed as being a fairly affluent area, average house prices are “substantially higher” than the regional and national average and affordability has long been an issue.
Mrs Weaver added: “Many of our rural populations and historic market towns, in particular, face a growing affordability crisis, dwindling local services, ageing housing and increasing isolation.
“The new sub-regional housing strategy will seek to tackle issues such as these.
“The first strategy was developed in 2003 and much has changed in the intervening years.
“The proposed new strategy aims to bring our plans up to date and to set out the actions we will take to identify and meet local housing needs.”
Proposals include the regeneration of the most deprived neighbourhoods, good quality affordable homes, accommodation and help for the most vulnerable residents and moves to increase the number of new homes which are built to back economic growth.
Residents can comment on where affordable housing is most needed and the groups which should have priority for help with housing. Comments are due by Friday, November 14.
For details, call Helen Weaver or Helen Woollam at the council on 0151 356 6957 or 6958 or visit: www.ellesmereport-neston.gov.uk