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Affordable homes boost for Wells people

PUBLISHED: 15:15 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 07 July 2010

There is fresh hope of affordable housing for Wells people who want to live in their home town.

The Homes for Wells housing charity has acquired two flats on one of the town's estates and is inviting local people to apply to rent them.

There is fresh hope of affordable housing for Wells people who want to live in their home town.

The Homes for Wells housing charity has acquired two flats on one of the town's estates and is inviting local people to apply to rent them.

The homes are seen as a significant milestone in efforts by townsfolk to make affordable rented property available to people who wish either to stay in or return to the town where they grew up.

Rising property prices, which has seen former local authority-owned houses go on the market for £265,000, has meant people who have grown up in Wells, have had little chance to secure a property for themselves and are being forced to move away.

It has raised fears that there will come a time when there are no younger people left to give their time and labour to essential voluntary services like the fire and lifeboat services.

Finishing touches are currently being made to the semi-detached three-bedroom house on Northfield Lane which has been converted into one two-bedroom flat and one one-bedroom flat.

The first priority of Homes for Wells is to provide affordable rented housing for people with a five-year proven link with the town and being either a key worker or part of the life-saving agencies such as a lifeboat or fire crew member.

A recent study by the Rural Community Council confirmed that 52 households had experienced a family member being forced to move out of Wells because of high property prices.

A further survey undertaken by Wells Area Partnership revealed there were 111 households in immediate housing need.

It also showed that while more than 50pc of households in Wells have a joint income of £20,000 or less, the average terraced house in Wells costs more than ten times as much at £253,750 - compared with £147,033 elsewhere in Norfolk.

Homes for Wells chairman Peter Terrington said that the charity exists to provide much-needed affordable housing in Wells and supporting local people.

“Residents and visitors are probably well aware that the friendly community spirit of Wells is increasingly at risk from the pressures of rising house prices, encouraged by the popularity of the town for second homes and retirement.

Unless steps are taken to make some housing available to young people of the town, we face a future in which Wells changes beyond all recognition as more and more young families and key workers are driven away in search of somewhere to live,” he

said.

It is expected that the first two flats, converted from the former home of well-known Wells artist, the late Jack Cox, will be available for rent later this summer.

The long-term aim of the charity is to buy its own property and during the past 12 months a series of fund-raising ventures, including Christmas Tide, summer ball and significant donations from private individuals, have been staged.

Application forms, including guidelines for housing, are now available online at www.homesforwells.co.uk or from Martine newsagents, Wells library, Wells post office or Wells Area Partnership office at The Sackhouse, Jicklings Yard, Wells.

Inquiries about Homes fort Wells can be made through contacting co-ordinator Fran Marshall by e-mail on fran@homesforwells.co.uk or by calling her on 01328 8265754 (office hours).

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