Letter: Affordable housing - The scandal of house prices

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May I thank your features editor, Graham Chalmers, for highlighting the issue of housing affordability in last week’s “Dear Reader” column in the Advertiser.

Graham makes the point that housing developers in Harrogate define the cost of affordable housing at £280,000, or 7.6 times the average annual salary. This is an absolute scandal.

I can remember not so many years ago, when I was chairman of planning at Harrogate Borough Council, that the government definition of affordable was 3.5 times the average annual salary, and even then a significant proportion of Harrogate’s young and hopeful could not afford to buy.

There is a desperate need for social housing for rent in this area, caused by “Right to Buy” and restrictions on local authority building, and Harrogate Council must act now to satisfy this need.

Whilst the council has built six new council houses in the last few years, that has barely scratched the tip of the iceberg.

We need to investigate schemes, already adopted by other local authorities, and embark on a major programme to build new council houses.

Without this, our young people will find it impossible to buy or rent and will look to make their futures elsewhere.

Geoff Webber

Burnside Drive,

Harrogate