Over the border: More affordable homes and higher housing standards in East Herts

Politics / Tue 11th Aug 2020 at 08:12am

More affordable homes and higher housing standards in East Herts

EAST Herts Council has played a key role in supporting housing associations to build the highest number of new affordable homes ever delivered in a single year in the district.

In 2019/20, a total of 292 new affordable homes were built. These are a mixture of rented homes that are available to households on the council’s housing register and shared ownership homes available to local households to part buy and part rent if they can raise a mortgage but are still struggling to afford a property in the open market.

At the same time, providing homes that are suitable for people with disabilities has also been a priority, with the council supporting Network Homes to build two fully wheelchair-adapted dwellings in Ware, and council itself converting three self-contained flats at its homeless hostel so they are suitable for disabled people.

The council has also worked hard to drive up standards in private rented homes provided in houses in multiple occupation or HMOs.

In 2019/20, 33 HMOs were inspected by the council resulting in advice and directions for making improvements, including requiring better fire alarm systems, fire doors and safe escape routes and making sure the HMOs have sufficient living, bathroom and kitchen space.

Peter Boylan, executive member for housing, said: “We know that housing in East Herts can be expensive to buy or rent so ensuring additional affordable housing is included on new developments wherever possible is a top priority for the council.

“To maximise the supply of new affordable housing, in May the council agreed a document detailing the affordable housing we expect developers to provide when seeking planning permission from us. Furthermore, we have just commissioned a study from the Housing Quality Network to advise us on all the options for ensuring the supply of a full range of affordable homes continues to grow. I’m looking forward to receiving the results later this year.”

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