Will more land to build on solve Rugby's shortage of affordable housing?

Work taking place at Rugby's Houlton development.
Work taking place at Rugby's Houlton development.

More houses must be built in Rugby if we want affordable homes, a national group has claimed.

The statement, which came as part of a report released by The National Housing Federation, states 958 too few homes were built in Rugby between 2012 and 2016.

This, it argues, is responsible for the average home in Rugby costing £236,850 – eight times the salary of a typical Rugbeian. The report argues the cost to rent also worsens the situation.

It states the cost of renting privately has added pressure on people’s income - with average monthly rents now standing at £708 swallowing up around 29 per cent of private renters’ income.

Kate Warburton, external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “The housing market has seen a relentless rise in the gap between house prices and people’s salaries. Rugby is no exception.

“Attaining a mortgage is increasingly unrealistic and private sector rents make saving up that bit more difficult.

“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, it is more important than ever for the sector to be able to deliver homes that are truly affordable. If we want to get serious about ending the housing crisis, we need to start looking at unlocking more land so we can build homes faster.”

Richard Allanach (pictured), convenor of About Turn, an action group formed to fight housing schemes in the Local Plan, agreed there is a shortage of affordable housing in Rugby, but argued against the assertion that more land is needed to be freed for development. He said: “The National Housing

Federation is right to say that house prices in Rugby are making home ownership an unaffordable dream for too many.

“However, its solution to the problem is wrong. More land does not need to be released for house building in Rugby. That may need to happen elsewhere in England but here in Rugby lots of land has already been set aside for housing.

“Four years ago the council gave planning permission for 6,200 houses to be built on the Rugby Radio Masts site.

That site alone would meet Rugby’s housing needs for the next 10 to 13 years.

“What should happen is that first, developers should stop sitting on land with planning permission and secondly, that developers should include

affordable housing in their new-builds.

"It is offensive that Taylor-Wimpey’s Rochberie Heights development in Rugby has only two affordable houses out of the one hundred and thirty-two houses that are being built.

“So few affordable houses have been built that now around half of all new houses on greenfield sites need to be affordable for the next ten or so years to catch up with the backlog.”

The National Housing Federation states it is the voice of affordable housing in England, it represents the work of housing associations and campaigns for better housing.