Harrogate’s Housing Crisis

tis  The town centre area of Harrogate aerial.  091109M1q.   DIPINTO VERSION.
tis The town centre area of Harrogate aerial. 091109M1q. DIPINTO VERSION.

Harrogate Borough Council failed to meet its own housing target by more than 50 per cent last year, leaving 3,000 people on housing waiting lists.

The council had set itself a target of 390 houses to be built per year from 2008 to 2012, but in 2011/12 just 152 houses were built.

Head of housing at Harrogate Borough Council, Alan Jenks said: “Most of the affordable housing we get is on the back of private sector housing developments.

“In the last 12 months there have only been 36 new affordable houses. There are now around 3,000 people on housing waiting lists and 65 families in temporary accommodation.”

Mr Jenks said that targets for the next five years has now been increased to 420 houses per year.

He added there is a difference between the number of houses granted planning permission and the number of houses actually built by developers. He said: “The number of planning permissions granted is well above the target number of houses to be built.”

Harrogate Borough Council housing services panel member Trevor Chapman (Lib Dem New Park ward) said: “For some time now there has been a serious shortage of housing for local authorities and we have growing concerns about it.

“Most local authorities have faced similar issues.”

Cabinet member for Housing Mike Chambers (Con Ripon Spa ward) agreed the housing shortage was an issue.

He said: “Affordable housing in the Harrogate district is very much a need.”

Mr Chambers emphasised the importance of the councils Local Development Framework (LDF). The LDF contains allocations for 3,960 homes across the district, and is expected to be put forward for public consultation next month before being submitted to the planning inspector.

He said: “Yes it has taken a long time and there has been a lot of debate but we have a workable plan. We have got to stick to it and make sure it provides the housing the district needs. When the LDF is approved we can start moving forward, however I don’t think this is going to be speedy.”

As The Advertiser previously reported private rents are increasing at a faster rate than house prices in Harrogate.

Rob Warm, Yorkshire and Humber lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “For years not enough homes have been built in Harrogate.

“House prices and private rents have spiralled out of reach for an entire generation, leaving thousands of families struggling to afford a home of their own.”

Have you been affected by Harrogate’s housing shortage? Let us know, email ackrill.news@ypn.co.uk.