No, we don’t need 28,000 new houses!

On 21st September the Housing and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) will look at the Housing element of the Devolution Deal.

Various reasons are put forward to support building more houses. One of these is: “High housing need with 28,000 on the waiting list”

People may think that if there are 28,000 on the waiting list we need to build 28,000 houses.

Not quite. For a start it should not be referred to as a waiting list. Its correct name is the Homechoice Register (HCR) which gives a better clue as to its purpose for it not only includes people in need of a new home but those who would for various reasons like to live somewhere else.

Analysis of data suggests that many people on the HCR actually are living in a property. When they move that property will be freed up for someone else to live in. This was a point picked up on in the Strategic Housing Market Strategy, where they decided to exclude people on the HCR who were in social housing for this very reason. We consider the same rationale should apply to private housing as well.

To deal with some aspects of need in this context may require funding to upgrade or adapt buildings, financial support for example as distinct from building new houses.

We estimate that the maximum number of those requiring a new property to be about 20% of the total on the HCR list.

Another question is why have the HCR figures for Cornwall not been revised as they have for many local authorities? Elsewhere numbers have been reduced after revision.


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