Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The lack of an affordable home is more than inconvenience or a crisis for just one family. It is a symptom of market failure

Tackling the lack of affordable housing in North Wales will be the aim of an innovative conference in Glyndwr University, Wrexham, later this month.

The conference on Friday afternoon, 20 November, will feature a keynote speech by Welsh Housing Minister Jocelyn Davies AM as well as contributions from housing associations, community land trust campaigners and affordable housing manufacturers.

One of the conference organisers Marc Jones, a Wrexham Councillor, said:
"Affordable housing is a priority with our council and many others across the north. Delivering on that priority has been more difficult and the aim of the conference is to explore alternatives to the market option to see if they can deliver affordable housing more effectively.

"There are many families across the borough who deserve to have decent affordable homes but are stuck in unsuitable or overcrowded accommodation because they can't get afford to buy or there's not enough housing for rent in the social housing sector. It's not right that families with young children are living in flats with barely a garden or playing space and they're the people who are losing out.

"By getting the Housing Minister Jocelyn Davies along to this conference, as well as people with practical experience of delivering affordable housing, we hope to move things forward and break the logjam."

Jonathan Brown, of the Land for People community land trust, said:

"The lack of an affordable home is more than inconvenience or a crisis for just one family. It is a symptom of market failure for our society as a whole, one that undermines the cohesion and sustainability of communities, distorts population profiles, reduces opportunity and impacts on the local economy.

"Across the UK, more and more places are using the Community Land (CLT) trust model to hold assets of land and buildings in trust for the long-term benefit of their community, and to build affordable housing. Land for People will be at the conference to describe some of these developments, talk about its CLT projects and suggest a way forward for Wrexham Council to do more on this key issue".

Alan Anderson of Welshpool-based Eco-Mods, an affordable housing manufacturer, will be arguing that affordable quality housing can be built at a budget that is not out of reach of local people. He said:

"Responding to the need for environmentally friendly yet affordable homes, Eco-Mods have developed the ‘house-pod’.

"As the house pod is manufactured entirely off site and comes as a watertight unit fully plumbed, wired and decorated with fitted kitchen and bathroom, there are no hidden costs and there is no down time. The pods can be delivered on a ‘Just in Time’ basis and assembled in most weather conditions.

"As the house-pod is manufactured in a quality controlled environment, fewer deliveries of materials to site are required, minimising pollution and reducing the carbon footprint of the house. The quality and performance of all house-pods are assured to ISO 9001 standards. Following delivery to site and requiring only external finishing and a roof, the affordable home can be made ready for occupation within hours."

Other speakers will concentrate on delivering affordable houses in rural communities and there will be contributions from Alwyn Llwyd of the Tai Clwyd housing association as well as Aran Jones, a community housing activist from Cymuned.

Cllr Marc Jones added:

"The response from councillors and experts in the housing field across North Wales so far has been very positive. Flintshire's council leader and deputy council leader are coming along as well as tenants and campaigners.

"There's no magic bullet to deliver affordable housing and it'll take a variety of methods, some more suitable to certain areas than others. But it's clear from the response that people want to find ways of answering this huge issue and I hope this conference can help that process."

To register for a free place at the conference, which takes place between 12.30-5pm on Friday afternoon, November 20, please contact 01978 366 735 or e-mail marcvjones [at] Registration beforehand ensures a free place, those registering on the day will pay £5 on the door.


Anonymous said...

Lets call for affordable housing yet fight against developments which create it in areas such as Rhostyllen!

Words of wisdon - stick to your own wards and the many problems that exist.

Plaid Queensway said...

Are you suggesting that the only way people in Wrecsam can have a home is to accept these large commuter estates and all the negative impacts that come with them? Seriously?

A few words of 'wisdon' for you too, try thinking outside the box.