As a lifelong Cheltonian, I have long felt that it is completely unfair that young people who were born and brought up in the town can no longer afford to live here, because the price of housing is so high.
It also makes it difficult, for the same reason, for professionals and young families to move into our town to live and work, which in turn helps to boost our economy.
It’s a point I hear people make time and again when I knock doors in Benhall, where I was re-elected as councillor last month.
That’s why I was pleased to take on the Housing portfolio in the council’s new cabinet team. Thanks to the work of the Liberal Democrat council, Cheltenham has secured a budget of £180m to build new affordable housing in our town over the next ten years or so, to help meet this challenge.
The first official duty I had to perform was to attend the opening of Radford Court, 27 new affordable homes on the site of the former Monkscroft Villas. That’s an increase of 800% on the 3 houses that previously occupied the site.
The teams at Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Borough Homes have been able to identify a number of other potential sites in the town that could be redeveloped to provide new carbon friendly homes in the coming years, as we all strive to meet the challenge for Cheltenham to be Carbon Neutral by 2030 – one of our manifesto pledges from the recent elections.
We want to build great new homes that will help build stronger communities.
As well as setting the challenging target of providing 500 new affordable homes between now and April 2026, we also want to deliver the ambitious goal to refurbish much of our current housing stock that will help regenerate many our existing communities.
As the housing sector continues to fail to provide the quality, affordable homes we all need, Liberal Democrats in Cheltenham will continue to do all we can. This investment will be a big boost to local families.
- Councillor Mike Collins, Cabinet Member for Housing