Action Plan Update 2021
Dealing with the housing crisis is a huge challenge. Whether you’re renting privately, in need of a council house, struggling to accommodate an expanding family or on the streets, the chances are you feel let down. Only a very few lucky people have never been touched by the vagaries of our dysfunctional housing market.
The powers of a district council are limited, but the Liberal Democrat administration has prioritised housing. Our £180million investment strategy has recently delivered 27 new affordable homes at Radford Court in Hester’s Way. The Monkscroft School development will deliver another 70 affordable homes, with more to follow at Swindon Road. The Golden Valley development is another vital scheme – one that many less ambitious councils would have baulked at. Around 35 per cent of the 3,700 new homes there will be affordable, alongside a large swathe of employment land creating thousands of jobs.
We also have a duty to look after the smaller things. In recent times, 300 local homes have been improved as part of a safety scheme and 13 long-term empty properties have been brought back into use. Cheltenham Borough Homes has installed 6,000 fire doors.
Many local people will have noticed an increase in rough sleeping. As benefits were cut by the government and the impacts of the pandemic set in, it was not a surprise to anyone who had been watching the world. Locally, we need to pick up the pieces. In the past year we have made 125 placements into emergency accommodation for those who were either rough sleeping or at imminent risk of rough sleeping. And we are part of a scheme to ensure homeless people are not discharged from hospital back onto the streets. We know we have a duty to look after the most vulnerable people around.
And as we look towards a carbon neutral future, we are starting trials to make older council homes as carbon efficient as possible. That will be two properties this summer, expanding into the future.
All of this is part of our five-year housing strategy. There’s a lot of work to do, but we have a plan to get things done.
- Councillor Mike Collins, Cabinet Member for Housing