Why we need to build Bungalows
As a local estate agent for Harrisons Homes and former Swale Borough Council Candidate, I know that we have a housing crisis, however, there is not a shortage of houses being built, but a shortage of the right types of homes for local people, we need to build bungalows.
From my own personal experience within the housing market, we have many older and disabled people who are desperate to move into a property which gives them a better quality of life rather than staying in a house which has lots of happy memories, but which does not suit their needs practically.
We have seen so many bungalows become converted into family homes, I fully believe homeowners should be free to increase the value of their properties and alter them with the proper planning measures in place. However, we have allowed new housing developments to spring up without any thought about replenishing the stock of bungalows.
This has now created a stagnation in the market which I and many other agents feel is a serious concern. There are so many cases of deals falling through because clients cannot find any bungalows which are available, practical or in areas where people want to live.
The lack of bungalows is clearly not just a problem for the older generation who benefit more directly from the building of them, but it is having a knock-on effect on the younger generations who aspire to own larger family homes.
There are many benefits of building new bungalows, firstly to help with current lack of housing for younger people. Although it will not fix the housing problem it will mean that bigger family homes are freed up more willingly as older generations will have suitable properties to move to.
These new homes will give people more choice and keep the market buoyant and free flowing. It will also improve the physical and mental health of the people who need bungalows and I believe it would go some way to help reduce the strain on the NHS, as older people would be in a property on one level and less likely to incur serious injury to themselves. It will also give them more independence in their later years.
I am suggesting the Government and local councils must work with developers to ensure that in every new housing development a portion of the housing is reserved for bungalows just like it is for affordable housing.
Either through incentives financially or with direct government funding for the creation of these new homes. There must also be a covenant of 100 years on the bungalow to restrict to conversion of them into houses or chalet bungalows, as this is one of the main factors for the need to build new bungalows.
The covenant to protect these bungalows is critical to the policy. It would mean that as a nation we would have a consistent stock of bungalows for generations to come.
Now I know that there is a reason why developers do not want to build bungalows, and that is because they can build larger family homes for less money and on smaller plots than they can bungalows.
I do not blame developers for doing this at the end of the day they are businesses, and their job is to make a profit to run their business. However, housing is not just a product that we buy on the shelf or online like we do food, clothes or even cars. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions someone can make and is most people’s biggest financial asset they will own.
It can mean your children get into the school of their choice as they are in the right catchment area, it can mean you save money on traveling to and from work, it can mean you and your family have a better quality of life.
So, housing matters to the fabric of a nation and if we do not make sure we have the choice in the market for all types of people in whatever stage of life they are in, then we are going to see a continuation of stagnation within the housing market not just in places like Kent but also across the country.
It’s time to do the right thing and build back bungalows.
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Given that local authorities already struggle to get developers to actually deliver even the minimum of affordable houses, I think this would be an uphill battle.
What do you think?