Introduction

It is accepted that we need more homes to house the next generation. First-time buyers are now expected to find a deposit ten times the size of their 1980’s counterparts in real terms. We are not prepared to live in a country where home ownership is an exclusive members’ club, only accessible to people who rely on family wealth.

We have seen local residents struggling with rent, needing housing benefit to keep a roof over their heads; being unable to live near their family; unable to buy their own home or downsize to suitable, more affordable homes.

These struggles will only be mitigated if we build more homes of all types for people at different price points in the market.

Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire

The N P Questionnaire identified the following issues:

  • The need for a mix of affordable and privately-owned housing

  • An interest in self-build, or a demand for a “piece of land” to build on

  • The highest need is for semi-detached housing

  • Concerns that additional housing will bring traffic congestion, surface water risk, lack of GP facilities and general infrastructure

  • The need for living accommodation, linked to retail eg flats over shops

  • General requirement for faster broadband connection

Axminster Housing Survey Report

The Steering Group commissioned an Axminster Housing Survey Report from Devon Communities Together to investigate housing need, tenure and size of homes required for local people.

In tandem with this report, Devon Communities Together, assisted by members of the Steering Group, produced a Report on Engagement with Younger People (Ages 18 – 40) to specifically obtain the views and aspirations of the Under 40’s in the town.

From a response rate of 24%, The Axminster Housing Survey Report identified a need for 22 affordable homes and 11 open market homes in the town, within the next 5 years. The 22 households who could not afford to buy or rent on the open market, included 17 which qualified for affordable rent, 4 which may be able to afford a shared ownership property and 1 which may be able to afford a starter home.

There were 11 singles or couples seeking a 2 bedroom property, 8 families seeking 2 bedroom accommodation and 3 families which would need a 3 bedroom property.

11 one or two bed properties (for singles and couples) would be eligible for single bedroom accommodation eg flats

Extra Care Need

Devon County Council provided a needs analysis that supports Extra Care Housing in Axminster (42 units) and predicts demand up to 20133 of 65 units

Key Points

The Key Points which emerged from our discussions were as follows:

  1. There is a demand for more bungalows for older people, which would free up more family homes. There is a preference for “small units” – one and two bed properties. (One bed houses are more sought after than one bed flats)

 

  1. There are an increasing number of people seeking a “for ever” move, generally downsizing, rather than upsizing. The demand is mainly for bungalows.

 

  1. The group were very much aware that developers are reluctant to build bungalows as they take up too much space!

 

  1. There must also be ‘aspirational’ homes, for the managers and executives of the businesses who do the employing and who will spend their commensurately higher wages in Axminster.  It would be all too easy to have a town dominated by both ends of the housing market and to forget the middle. These properties might take longer to sell but lift an area and provides homes for the management and other senior tiers of local companies and businesses.

 

  1. The group feels that developers should be required to provide homes over the full range of values sustainable in a town rather than catering for just the lower and middle ends of the property ladder.

 

  1. The group also considered that “fresh air flats” could be considered. These could be maisonette units of say four flats – all with separate entrances. 

 

  1. There is currently less demand for three and four bed homes, but there is a requirement for homes, with provision for dependent relatives

 

  1. There is a need for “Extra Care Housing” – maybe 60 units. This will become a significant requirement. (Extra Care Housing sits between Sheltered Housing and Residential Care). We should consider making future provision for “Dementia Care Housing”

 

  1. There is resurgence in demand for “Self Build” opportunities. These could be quick and easy to construct, possibly timber-framed. The group would expect that a developer could provide serviced plots to floor-slab level and self-build amalgamations or individuals could purchase the plots. This could be an opportunity to work with Community Land Trusts.

 

  1. “Starter Homes” are also a possibility for couples with a guaranteed income level, but not necessarily able to offer a deposit   

 

  1. Residents would like to see more imaginative designs, to suit a Traditional Rural Market Town. We should embed standards into the Neighbourhood Plan, incorporating an appropriate amount of Green Space.

 

  1. The group recommended that the development east of Axminster should include community facilities eg Convenience Store, a public house, takeaway food outlets, etc. They hope that a Section 106 agreement would cover this.

 

  1. The group also hopes that East Devon District Council would be able to put together a comprehensive plan for mixed use housing on the former Millwey Rise Football Club site.

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE REAL OPPORTNITIES FOR MEETING HOUSING NEEDS IN AXMINSTER

Neighbourhood plan group - notes

To request more information:


Contact the Town Clerk

Address:

5 West Street

Axminster

Devon

EX13 5NX

Telephone:

01297 33333

Homes and Houses

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