PEOPLE have until the middle of the month to have their say on future housing plans.
With first time buyers struggling to get a foot on the property ladder and homebuilders hit by the credit crunch, council officials 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 Alison Amesbury at Chester City 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 points out that alhough 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.
“Many of our rural populations and historic market towns, in particular, face a growing affordability crisis, dwindling local services, ageing housing and increasing isolation,” she believes.
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,” according to Alison.
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.
People 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.
People can find further details on Chester City Council's web site or phone Alison Amesbury on 01244 402265.