Mayor's target: 2,500 affordable new homes
BRISTOL mayor George Ferguson has set a target of 2,500 new affordable homes in Bristol by 2018.
This would mean a ten-fold annual increase in the number of low-cost homes – 75 at the moment – which are currently being built in the city.
A report presented to Mr Ferguson, pictured, said it was "imperative" action was taken to ease the housing crisis in the city.
The report said a failure to provide more affordable homes would act as a 'brake' on the city's economic development and new jobs creation.
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Mr Ferguson said: "One of the key ambitions I set myself when I started was to achieve 1,000 affordable new homes a year as early as possible – a tenfold plus increase on current performance.
"It is vital that we build more housing of all categories in order to help meet the pressing need and to ensure that the city can continue to grow its economy and expand job creation.
"Changes introduced by the Government mean that Bristol City Council now keeps the money generated by council rents instead of sending it on to Whitehall, money that we can now invest in building new affordable city homes.
"This will be a major step forward for the city, for economic growth, for new jobs and, not least, for the many people currently in urgent need of affordable housing."
During the last three years, the number of affordable homes which have been built in the city has dramatically fallen due to a decline in public funding and fewer planning agreements between developers and the council.
The projected increase will largely be achieved by the council entering into partnership with a range of providers and housing associations which would then develop the sites for homes – and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which will provide some funding.
Councillor Mark Bradshaw, Assistant Mayor for Strategic Housing, said new approaches were needed to deliver more affordable housing because the council could no longer rely on Section 106 agreements which legally compelled developers to provide them.
In these recession-hit days, developers are reluctant to go ahead with new projects if the Section 106 agreements make them uneconomic.