The Government’s Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, visited the West of England yesterday, Thursday 31st January, to see where new homes are being built, or are planned.
Mr Malthouse visited Bath, North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, including development sites at Bath Riverside, the Bristol Temple Meads to Keynsham corridor, part of the region’s bid into the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, Harry Stoke and Elderberry Walk.
He met Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles and the members of the West of England Combined Authority; Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, and Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, to discuss the need for further government support for new homes. Cllr Nigel Ashton, Leader of North Somerset Council also attended.
Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, said: “We’ve had a cracking day on a tour of ambition in an area of the country which is crying out for new housing and is well-served by its civic leaders, who have come together to deliver what the next generation needs.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, added: “It was good to meet the Housing Minister and show him some of the sites where we are building or planning to build new homes.
“It was a great opportunity to promote our region’s growing reputation for innovative, inclusive, green and sustainable housing developments.
“The Combined Authority is working closely with the Government to secure further investment for new homes in the West of England. We know that we need more homes, to buy and rent – homes where they are needed at prices people can afford.
“We also need to ensure that we have great transport links, schools, and broadband. Continued support from the Government will help us to work with our constituent councils, and North Somerset Council, to build homes and communities that are well-connected – using our regional knowledge to deliver what we need.”
Cllr Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “I am pleased that through WECA the Minister had an overview of the whole region and how we are working together to tackle housing needs.
“It was also a good opportunity to show the Minister what is happening across our district and to discuss the unique issues we face particularly in Bath – balancing the need for more affordable housing, the growth of houses of multiple occupancy and the city’s large student population.”
The West of England, covering Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, is a high housing demand area.
Across the region, the average house prices are more than eight times average incomes, with Bath more than ten times the average income.
The West of England Combined Authority says it is committed to securing an increase in housing delivery and a strengthened, long-term partnership with the Government and Homes England, working with North Somerset, to develop a housing deal for the West of England.