“My fear is they will just confirm what we know already and tell us we’ve got a housing crisis.” [County Cllr Julian Brazil]
Have your say on the issues [Devon Housing Commission – Call for Evidence]
A new ‘Devon Housing Commission’ has been established.
Back in January, a report was put together, setting out “the case for joining a collaboration of Devon councils to investigate and report on the housing market in the county under the umbrella of a Devon Housing Commission” – as given by the District Council at the time:
The report sets out the case for joining a collaboration of Devon councils to investigate and report on the housing market in the county under the umbrella of a Devon Housing Commission. The purpose of the Devon Housing Commission is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the various local housing markets, related socio-economic profiles and model demographic change to make the case for a step change in social and housing policy and pragmatic solutions to be delivered locally moving into the next decade. Devon Housing Commission report.pdf
The Commission has now been formally created.
Homelessness, affordability and second homes in Devon are among issues to be tackled by a new commission of experts, councillors and parliamentarians. The Devon Housing Commission has been given the task of “making a case to government” on how to approach the “housing crisis” in the region. The University of Exeter and local authorities across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay will manage and fund it. New commission to tackle Devon’s housing crisis – BBC News
The Commission plans to make recommendations to government:
It has been established by the Devon Housing Task Force – a partnership between the 11 local authorities across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and supported by the University of Exeter. The Housing Commission will develop recommendations to start to address the shortage of appropriate homes, which is having an impact on people’s health and the economy. The Commission will allow those affected to have their say and inform representations to Government. Powerful new voice aims to solve Devon’s housing crisis – Exeter City Council News
People and organisations in Devon can have their say on the issues: Devon Housing Commission – Call for Evidence
The Commission will show the importance of decent housing to Devon’s prosperity, economic growth and social mobility. It is chaired by Lord Richard Best, a widely experienced expert in housing issues, and will be managed by Matthew Dodd from the University of Exeter. Commissioners will include prominent politicians and housing experts from across Devon, representing the various housing challenges and opportunities that the county experiences. We are joining forces to help solve Devon’s housing crisis – West Devon Borough Council
It’s been a long time coming:
The county council declared a housing crisis in 2021, with a lack of rental properties thought to be preventing key workers moving to the area and local people moving elsewhere due to being priced out of the properties available to rent or buy.
It comes as Devon’s local councils recently voted to adopt new powers from the government, expected to come into force next year, which will allow them to double council tax for empty and second homes. A major cause of the long-term rental shortage is believed to be owners converting properties into short-term holiday lets, particularly in coastal and tourist areas.
Devon County Council leader John Hart, who also chairs the Team Devon partnership, said: “Devon is in the midst of a serious housing crisis with a real shortage of homes to let and high prices for local people who want to buy a home. We must do all we can to enable local people to live and work in their local communities and be close to their families and friends if they want to. The shortage and high cost of housing is also having a real impact on the ability of businesses, social care and organisations like the NHS to recruit staff and that has a serious effect on our economy and our capacity to look after our people.”
But his opposite number at Devon County Council, Julian Brazil (Lib Dem), also the leader of South Hams District Council, says it’s “worrying there is little or no representation from district councils”.
“My hope is they will produce the radical ideas we need,” Cllr Brazil added. “Right to buy has got to go and affordability should be linked to local wages not open market values. The market has completely failed to solve our housing issues. Volume house builders should be nationalised. My fear is they will just confirm what we know already and tell us we’ve got a housing crisis.”