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Experts call for action on housing in Bradford conference
6:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
The housing market is “not all doom and gloom” but Bradford must ensure it does not get left behind, according to a cross-bench life peer.
Lord Richard Best of Godmanstone, an expert on national housing issues, was speaking at the Bradford Housing Partnership’s annual conference at City Hall yesterday.
The event was held to discuss the partnerships required in tackling the city’s current and potential future housing problems.
“I sense a mood change across the country that more has got to be done,” said Lord Best. “Politicians recognise that they’ve got to do better.
“First-time buyers simply can’t afford mortgages, and may end up paying rent on properties they don’t even want to live in. Basically, anyone under 40 has potentially got a housing problem, which is an extraordinary situation.”
Bradford Council calculates that up to 2,600 new homes need to be built in the district each year to keep up with growth in households.
“We now have a planning minister, Nick Boles MP, who is keen for new houses to be built, but we must make sure all the efforts aren’t concentrated in the south. Bradford needs to get its fair share of resources.”
Another of the main speakers at the conference – which attracted over 60 delegates from the district’s housing and regeneration sector – was Paul Mackie, chairman of Rex Procter and Partners, and recently-installed president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “Bradford is a unique place that has to come together to grow. We need to apply economic logic to housing issues, and link them to education and skills.
“There is no point growing businesses without housing stock. When businesses are ready to develop, they need staff living on their doorstep.”
As reported in Thursday’s Telegraph & Argus, first-time-buyers can expect to face a 28 per cent increase in house prices across Yorkshire by 2020, and a 50 per cent increase in private rents.
Council figures already show that 55 per cent of Bradford households in the private rented sector rely on housing benefit to meet part of their living costs.
Councillor Val Slater, the Council’s executive member for planning, transport and highways, said: “Everyone in the Bradford district should have a place to call home which is suitable for their needs and in which they can thrive.
“It is vital we work together across agencies to progress. Economic development, education, regeneration, well-being: they are all linked to housing, so it’s a huge issue.”
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