IS THERE a local housing crisis in Hedon and district?
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has certainly indicated that he thinks there are “deep, deep structural problems” in the UK’s housing market threatening the economy with rising house prices and demand for homes outstripping supply. In a widely publicised interview on Sky News yesterday he said that there are not enough houses being built in the UK.
But what is the situation locally? The issue was raised during the Hedon Town Council’s Annual Town Meeting in April 2014. Local resident and Labour Party member Steve Gallant asked in the Open Forum: “Where are young people in the town going to live – where will they buy or rent?”
Mr Gallant claimed that the “Town Council’s Canute type of approach trying to hold back the tide of new developments” including housing “was not working”. He made the case for supporting some housing development, particularly affordable homes that would help ease the problem facing younger people.
Town Mayor Councillor John Dennis, no doubt drawing upon his experience as an estate agent in the town, described the local housing situation as ‘market-led’ and said that there was currently an adequate supply of homes in the town, but he warned that ‘the situation was likely to change’. East Riding planners had listened to the town council’s concerns, he said, and the increased flood-risk inherent from any new building developments in the town had to be ‘reduced considerably’ before the council was likely to give any favourable response to housing development plans.
The building of the Siemens wind farm factories and supply industries in Hull and Paull is likely to boost housing demand in the area. But if housing developers are to respond positively to local opportunities then schemes would have to incorporate robust flood-risk assessments to demonstrate how they would keep people safe from flood hazards, including engineering methods to drain water during floods, establishing flood warning forecasting systems, emergency and evacuation procedures. Potential developers would need to demonstrate that the building of new developments will not increase flooding risks to others, and where possible aim to reduce flood risk overall.
Such ‘flood-proofed’ plans for local housing might arise. But will the price tag that comes with these enhanced developments be problematic for local young people – even with an element of any plans being for ‘affordable homes’? It brings us back to the issue raised by Steve Gallant – will local young people be able to afford to live in any new housing? Will the only future facing young people in Hedon wanting to get their first accommodation or home be one outside of the town?
Of course there is another point of view on this issue. Perhaps there will come a time when the town says “We’re full up!” Let’s preserve what we’ve got and say no to further housing within the town borders or its proximity. But somehow it seems that this could be a forlorn and nostalgic position; one worthy of King Canute perhaps, but one powerless to advance the incoming tide of development.
On the OurProperty website (updated database May 2014) listing houses actually sold in Hedon, the most expensive property sold was £412,000 for a house in Souttergate, with one on Constable Garth selling for the least at £52,000.
You have to register to use OurProperty, but it is obviously useful if you are considering moving house or want to come and live in Hedon, and want to get a feel for the housing market and actual property sold prices.