The 50,000 new homes challenge:

What's the impact for Gloucestershire? 

Housing, construction and planning professionals are attending a specialist event this week examining the impact of the housing crisis on the delivery of affordable homes across Gloucestershire.

Coinciding with the publication of the Housing White Paper this week, Let’s Talk Housing is being held in Cheltenham on Friday 10 February and delegates will be considering latest research which suggests the county needs an extra 50,000 homes by 2030 to meet demand.

Whilst presenting a tough challenge, it also offers great opportunities for organisations to collaborate on creative solutions to meet demand for quality, affordable homes for current and future generations.

Let’s Talk Housing has been organised by Gloucestershire Homes and Communities Partnership (GHCP), which comprises seven housing partners – Cheltenham Borough Homes, Gloucester City Homes, Green Square, Merlin Housing, Severn Vale Housing, Stroud District Council and Two Rivers Housing.

The event provides a platform for senior figures from a range of sectors to debate the issues arising from independent research commissioned last year by GHCP, and seek possible solutions.

Evidence from the research included:

•    Great demand for one-bedroom homes.

•    More homes for social rent will be needed for older people, to meet demand from our ageing population.

•    There will be increasing demand for home adaptations, particularly to support older residents.

•    The number of private rented households varies greatly - from 21.5% in Cheltenham to just 11.2% in the Forest of Dean.

•    The number of households living in social landlord accommodation is well below the national average.

•    Opportunities lie in providing alternatives to residential care for older people, and helping to prevent hospital admission or medical intervention.

These findings support the results of the latest National Housing Federation’s ‘Home Truths’ report, which highlighted a housing crisis in the county.

Let’s Talk Housing will be chaired by Housing Quality Network’s Jon Land. The day will launch with presentations from:

•    Jane Ashcroft, CEO of leading national housing and care provider Anchor Group who will discuss issues affecting residents aged over 55, and suggest some innovative solutions.

•    Gill Payne, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the National Housing Federation, who will present the Home Truths report and its assessment of the housing market in the South West.

•    Tony Oakley, Head of Social Housing at Lloyd’s Bank, who will explore funding opportunities available to kick-start social housing developments.

•    Stephanie Ainsworth, Senior Specialist - Home Ownership and Supply at the Homes and Communities Agency, who will highlight housing delivery opportunities for providers and construction companies through the affordable homes programmes.

The rest of the day will be a series of interactive workshops to discuss six key topics:

 •    Homelessness

•    health and social care

•    older people

•    smart homes

•    employability

•    housing the next generation

Tim Knight, Chief Executive of Severn Vale Housing, said: “We want to bring partners together to help solve the county’s housing shortage and shape Gloucestershire’s future housing growth. We are keen to examine innovative solutions in terms of construction, such as modular design and how, collectively, we can fund and deliver locally the Government’s national target of one million new homes by the next Parliament.

“Our Let’s Talk Housing event is just the start for us. We are excited by the level of experience and expertise we will have on the day, and can’t wait to see what creative ideas come out of it, that we can take forward.”

Phil Brotherhood, of Let’s Talk Housing, added: “This is a must-attend event to explore solutions to the housing crisis in Gloucestershire. With the Housing White Paper published this week, this event is extremely timely and will include the latest views from key figures across the sector.”

Follow on Twitter @LetsTalkHousing and #newhomechallenge.