Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has taken a vital step forward in addressing the district’s affordable housing challenge by commissioning specialist housing advisers Altair.
The arrangement between HDC and Altair will result in a report to the district council advising on options for establishing a range of new and robust housing delivery models. These will be designed to address the shortage of housing supply overall, by providing more new homes, and helping to reduce the reliance on temporary accommodation for homeless households by increasing the supply of affordable homes.
Altair already work alongside a number of other local authorities, housing associations and private sector developers, providing expert advice and support in helping them achieve their strategic objectives. Working closely with district council officers and councillors, Altair will produce an options paper for HDC to consider. The paper will set out the most appropriate housing delivery models for the Council to consider adopting, designed to positively influence the supply and type of homes available to communities across the district.
HDC's Deputy Executive Leader and Executive Councillor for Housing and Planning, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: "It has been widely reported that nationally we have a broken housing market. Consequently, against a backdrop of spiralling house prices, and expensive and unstable rents, local authorities have struggled to deliver the right quantity and mix of housing required by their communities. Availability and affordability of housing is one of the greatest barriers to social progress in the country today. I am therefore determined that HDC addresses this in Huntingdonshire, and the consideration of housing delivery models will enable us to more directly influence and intervene to meet the needs of our community."
The relationship between HDC and Altair came about as the result of a new scheme launched by the Local Government Association. The scheme, known as the Housing Advisers Programme, aims to help councils tackle local housing challenges by funding the provision of an independent expert. This work has therefore been provided at no cost to the district council.
Commenting on the longer-term aspirations of the district council’s housing policy, Cllr Fuller said: "Potentially, there are multiple benefits of us establishing new housing delivery actions, especially those that are specifically centred on the needs of Huntingdonshire residents. Nationally, the new Affordable Homes Programme initiative offers significant opportunity to councils and housing associations, who are now able to access support to build additional homes, and at rents that are potentially more affordable for local people. We should therefore ensure that Huntingdonshire is at the forefront of delivering truly affordable homes for our residents to rent and buy."