The last year has seen Tunbridge Wells become an even more unaffordable place to live. With an abundance of access to open spaces, house prices and rents have continued to rise. The only effective response to this is the provision of new genuinely affordable housing to buy or to rent at social rent levels. We will push the Council and its partners to be far more ambitious in its existing plans. Many young people growing up in Tunbridge Wells have little prospect of being able to afford to live in the place they grew up without positive action on this.
Our Council should use its powers to build its own new social housing and work with partners to deliver the new genuinely affordable homes to residents that are needed.
Many residents are on lengthy waiting lists, living in unsuitable costly temporary accommodation or unaffordable, poor quality private sector rented housing.
Labour Councillors will work to:
1. Prioritise the housing needs of existing residents rather than those looking to relocate to the Borough with a programme of new Council owned social housing which will generate rental income to invest in public services.
2. Ensure that housing developments provide homes which meet the needs of the future – particularly for the young, elderly, key workers and disabled.
3. Support the development of mixed communities where people have the choice of genuinely affordable housing to buy or rent.
4. Ensure that genuinely affordable housing is delivered in rural towns and villages to help local people stay living in the areas they grew up in.
5. Ensure that the minimum requirement of 40% affordable housing in the new draft Local Plan is met and that the proportion available at social rents is increased.
6. Ensure all development is accompanied by the appropriate investment in infrastructure to mitigate pressures on services in all local communities.
7. Press for the inclusion of genuinely affordable housing for low income key workers, veterans and other priority groups on the housing waiting list on the old cinema site in Tunbridge Wells and in other town centres in the Borough.
8. Encourage the Council to increase the supply of social housing lost under Right to Buy legislation by using its powers to build houses itself.
9. Provide greater support to private sector renters by ensuring the housing service engages with private landlords to improve the quality housing and address unreasonable rent increases in the Borough.
10.Ensure that all social landlords invest in the standard of their homes and be responsive to concerns raised by their tenants.
Labour Councillors believe that we should be providing more genuinely affordable homes for local residents to buy and social rent.
The rapid expansion in expensive executive housing and retirement developments is attracting more people to move into the Borough but pricing out local people who can’t afford to live here. What we
really need is more homes for our key workers, young people and others want raise their families in the towns and villages they grew up in and not forced to move out.