Cuts hit rural house building

First published in News

Wiltshire Rural Housing Association claims it will only be able to build 16 new affordable homes in the next four years due to Government funding cuts.

The meagre total represents a third of what the association had hoped it would be able to afford in response to increasing demand throughout the county.

Other social housing is likely to provided through planning agreements with developers, which WRHA will then manage, but with fewer houses being built due to the financial crisis a shortage is still expected.

Richard Kitson, the association’s chairman, said they would have to be realistic and accept that there would be no new Government money in the near future.

“We have got to do what we can, and try to build more than 16 homes,” he said.

“We have always borrowed but will have to stretch our finances more, and make section 106 agreements with developers as cost effective as possible, ensuring some affordable homes are provided.

“Unfortunately it is quiet in the construction sector, and we are anxious not to reduce our standards in the process. We build for the long term.”

Mr Kitson said the Govern-ment’s funding, which is provided through Wiltshire Council, is half what they were allocated for the last three-year period.

The association owns nearly 250 homes across the county, helping particularly young and retired people to live in increasingly expensive rural areas.

“There is considerable need for affordable homes in Wiltshire, particularly among the younger people brought up in villages where property is expensive,” added Mr Kitson. “We need to get closer to meeting that need.”

Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire, said other housing associations were building large numbers of homes despite the cuts in funding.

“I am sorry that Wiltshire Rural Housing Association will only be able to build a small number of new houses,” he said.

“There are other housing providers which are building more homes across the area.”

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