Housing commission appointed to improve Devon properties

A new team of experts, councillors and parliaments have been grouped together to address the county’s rocketing housing crisis.

The Devon Housing Commission, have been tasked with making a strong case to present to the government on how to approach homelessness, affordability and second homes that are currently plaguing the region.

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The announcement of forming the new commission, which is being funded by the University of Exeter and local authorities across Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay, has been accepted with open arms as housing issues across the county have been increasing for almost three years.

In 2021, Devon County Council leader, Cllr John Hart, claimed rising house prices and a lack of rental properties in the area had resulted in a housing emergency. In addition, the current cost-of-living crisis, which is showing no signs of settling down soon, has further contributed to shortages.

Against this backdrop, the commission, according to a spokesperson from the University of Exeter, is set to seek views from communities in Devon which will help inform the case it makes to the government.  

The full case, which should hopefully be enough to make the government realise something needs to be done about the housing issues, will include homelessness, housing affordability, how to create attractive communities, integrating housing with health care, the impact of short-term letting, holiday accommodation, student housing and second homes.

A spokesperson from the University of Exeter has claimed ‘a shortage of appropriate homes’ is continuing to impact people’s health and the economy’.

As well as helping to improve people’s health, the commission has also outlined plans to analyse how to deliver affordable housing in rural communities whilst protecting the environment.

Councillor Mandy Ewings, leader of West Devon Borough Council and chair of the Devon Housing Task Force, which created the commission, said the new plan was a ‘real opportunity’ to bring together people and expertise.

Image: Sam Healey


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