Local housing ‘crisis’

UNAFFORDABLE house prices and insufficient access to social housing is making living in East Lindsey harder than ever, a report claims.

The National Housing Federation estimates that average house prices in the district are nine times higher than annual income and set to increase by 25 per cent in the next five years - the steepest in England.

Social housing waiting lists are also among the longest in the East Midlands, despite concerted efforts by East Lindsey District Council and New Lincs Housing Association to address the problem.

Jack Whyman, director of operations at New Lincs Housing Trust, said: “I think there’s an issue with insufficient housing almost everywhere. People are becoming less able to manage financially and are struggling to afford private rented properties.

“We’ve got more people on the waiting list than we’ve got homes, so even if they’re all empty, which they’re not, we still wouldn’t be able to house everyone.”

New Lincs and ELDC secured £12 million in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, which together with their own investments is scheduled to create more than 500 new homes by 2015.

A fifth of the new homes will be available through ‘Home Buy’ shared ownership schemes to make it easier for prospective buyers to start on the housing ladder.

Rather than having to front the large deposit required to secure a mortgage on an entire home, buyers can purchase a share of a home from the housing association and rent the remainder until they have saved enough to buy it outright.

Planning regulations enforced by ELDC also aim to address the housing balance by requiring new housing developments larger than 15 homes to contain at least 30 per cent social housing.

Despite these attempts to increase access to affordable housing a Skegness Town Councillor believes the problem won’t go away unless the region’s economy receives a major boost.

Coun Mark Anderson said: “We’ve got to have a stimulus to create jobs and wealth and a better balanced economy before the housing problem is going to go away.”