The so-called ‘affordable’ housing policy I think sums up what is so obviously wrong with the allocation of housing within Swale. Sure there are targets to meet, but if this, and I don’t believe for a minute that it will make any material difference, is going to bring house prices within the reach of the majority of the population then the policy is fatally flawed.
Surely in order to make housing accessible to all, and I’m only quoting the government and their many experts here, including the National House Building Federation, building more homes where they are least affordable is the way forward. This is simply based on the notion that building a greater number of houses will eventually even out the supply and demand economics that have to date disproportionately inflated house prices. I contend however that there are many other factors at play here and this is an over simplistic view and not a creditable economic model.
But this doesn’t matter in Swale anyway, because we are set to do the exact opposite, building the fewest houses in the Faversham area which is deemed to be the least affordable and the most in the Thames Gateway area comprising of Sittingbourne, Sheppey and the surrounding villages.
In fact, the Council has deemed that no affordable housing needs to be built on the Isle of Sheppey what-so-ever. Sittingbourne and the various urban expansions including Iwade only require 10% of new developments to be affordable and Faversham requires 35% of its new development to be affordable.
There is one additional category where rural areas within the whole of Swale are required to hit a target of 40% affordable, but the Council has dealt with that by simply including the majority of such housing which is destined for Iwage, Borden and Bapchild under the guise that these all constitute urban extensions of Sittingbourne.
Obviously the whole notion of what is deemed affordable in questionable for a large number of first time buyers, but that an entirely different debate.