Scarborough Borough Council has launched a market engagement exercise in a bid to build more affordable homes as part of its Better Homes project.
The council is asking registered providers of social housing and housing developers for their opinions to find ways to offer more affordable homes for Scarborough residents.
While the council says it has made good progress in recent years, demand for affordable housing in Scarborough remains high with younger people often locked out of the housing market due to the gap between average house prices and average wages in the borough.
The engagement exercise will use a sample of council-owned sites within existing development limits or already allocated for housing within the council’s Local Plan.
The council will use the exercise to inform providers and developers of its ambitions and obtain views on these potential opportunities for future collaboration.
Cllr Carl Maw, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member for stronger communities and housing, said: “The market engagement exercise is a key milestone in the first phase of this hugely important project to build more high quality housing that is affordable for our residents.
“It gives us an opportunity to better understand the current market and gives the market the chance to understand our requirements too.”
While the main aim of the project is to provide new homes, it is also linked to the council’s economic plans as it seeks to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy.
Scarborough is behind other local areas in wage levels as workers in the borough earn on average £507 a week, compared to the national average wage of £587 a week.
This makes it harder for Scarborough residents to get on the housing ladder, while at least 40% of users of Scarborough’s Citizens’ Advice service who have jobs also claim in-work benefits.
Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member for inclusive growth, said: “Now more than ever, affordability of a new home is a key challenge for many people living and working within our communities.
“We have introduced a number of economic policies to respond to and help with our recovery from COVID-19, including encouraging our employers to pay the UK Living Wage. At the same time, we are committed to providing a greater quantity of high quality affordable housing.
“Both aspects are key to encouraging our residents to remain within our communities as skilled and valuable contributors to our local economy and be part of building a better borough for the future.”
The council’s Cabinet will hear updates on progress on the engagement exercise at its future meetings.
Image: The Grand Hotel and accompanying houses in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. Credit: “Scarborough, North Yorkshire. (4 of 7). By Thomas Tolkien” by Tom Tolkien/CC BY 2.0