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More housing concerns in Wells as homes are labelled ‘beyond the reach’ of local families

PUBLISHED: 12:10 16 February 2018

A housing organisation has said properties in one of Norfolk’s most popular seaside towns are “beyond the reach” of local families and affordable homes are being sold as holiday lets.

Homes for Wells have been assessing the level of demand for affordable housing in Wells since December when a town-wide survey was sent to every household and business.

The survey concluded at the end of January and while they have not completed a full analysis of the results, they noted in a recent town council meeting that they appear to show properties are unaffordable for those currently living in the community.

A statement read on behalf of Homes for Wells chairman David Fennell, said: “First impressions are that our previous assumptions about demand are broadly unchanged. The fact remains that the cost of properties to buy in the town is beyond the reach of most local families.

“At the same time, we hear that Victory properties are being sold for holiday lets.”

Victory Housing is an affordable housing provider for north Norfolk and the company’s chief executive, John Archibald, said the concerns raised in the meeting are not accurate.

He admitted Victory does sell some homes on the market but they are properties that are not energy efficient and in low demand.

“We sell homes that are typically three bed and currently the biggest demand is for two bed,” he said.

“We then take the income from that sale and reinvest it in building new affordable homes. At the moment we have a north Norfolk-wide policy to build three homes for every one sold.

“When we do sell a property it is sold on the market and if someone buys it and chooses to use it as a second home or a holiday let then we have no control over that. The answer is to ensure we maximise every opportunity to build new affordable housing in the community and that is what Homes for Wells is doing and what Victory is doing.”

Mr Archibald emphasised that without income from the houses that are sold, they would not be able to build new affordable homes.

North Norfolk has the fourth highest number of second-owned homes in the country. In the past 10 years house prices have soared in the region but there has not been little change in wages.

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