Chelmsford Council's warm words but no action on affordable homes

December 5, 2015 11:02 AM

Chelmsford Council this week rejected the chance to make a firm commitment to affordable housing and infrastructure, and to go into the property business . At the full Council meeting, the Conservatives voted down a Liberal Democrat proposal to take action, instead voting only for the words that identify that Chelmsford has an affordable housing crisis.

Commented Lib Dem Leader Stephen Robinson, who moved the motion, "Yet again all the Conservatives can manage to do is say the warm words. When it comes to firm action, they are always lacking."

All Councillors voted for these words

Council notes the report of its own housing consultant, who stated that not only is Chelmsford short of houses but is desperately short of affordable housing. He further stated that, before too long, no-one under the age of 40 would be able to afford to buy or rent a house in Chelmsford, because of the rapidly growing gap between house prices and incomes.

Council believes that this shortage is bad for families, because grown up children often cannot afford to live near their families, bad for community cohesion, and bad for the environment and transport networks, because it forces people to commute further.

Council endorses the need to build large numbers of houses in this area in the years ahead,

Only the Liberal Democrats voted for these words:

but in the most sustainable manner and with the appropriate infrastructure, delivered at the same time not afterwards.

This council therefore resolves to:-

  1. oppose any Government plans to undermine the social rented sector e.g. through forced sell-off of social rented housing
  2. ensure that its new local plan will have 35% affordable housing in new developments as the norm, not just an aspiration
  3. work with other parts of the public sector in Essex to use publicly owned land to deliver affordable housing, rather than sell it to the highest bidder
  4. follow the example of many other councils and examine the possibility of a council-owned development company as another way of delivering affordable housing