A tax premium raised on second homes will be invested in building 1,500 affordable properties in Gwynedd, as part of a new plan to solve the county’s housing crisis revealed today.
A report that will be presented to Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet will recommend investing over £77 million over the coming six years to deliver the new houses.
To make the plans a reality, the Council will reinvest £22.9 million of the Council Tax premium on second homes from now until 2026/27.
Councillor Craig ab Iago, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Housing said: “My top priority is to ensure that we as a Council do everything we can to offer homes to the people of Gwynedd within our communities. We know that our young people face a greater challenge than ever to find a suitable home locally, and this is an unfair and unjust situation.
“Put simply, it is a crisis and I’m determined to see us delivering a real change. I am therefore extremely proud of this Plan, which not only shows Gwynedd Council’s vision for the future of housing in the county, but more importantly, that we have definite plans to implement that vision.
“With the help of the Council Tax Premium income that is levied on second home owners, we will start building our own houses and selling them on a shared ownership model to local residents. We will offer financial assistance to local first-time buyers and aim to buy properties from the housing market to let to Gwynedd residents in accordance with the new local allocation policy we have introduced.”
The Housing Action Plan will be led by the new Housing and Property Department established by the Council to address the shortage of suitable homes available to local people in Gwynedd.
It outlines over 30 projects across the county that will enable the Council to:
- facilitate over 500 new affordable homes including the construction of 100 of new homes to be sold or let to Gwynedd residents;
- offer loans to 250 local first-time buyers;
- deliver more than 600 new social housing for Gwynedd including buying 72 former social-housing houses to rent to local people in accordance with the Council’s new local allocation policy;
- extend grant scheme to bring 250 empty houses back into use across the county;
- invest in environmentally-friendly homes like the innovative scheme currently being developed in the Segontium area of Caernarfon;
- develop 150 living units for homeless people in the county and create 130 new units for vulnerable residents.
“We have recently seen building work begin on a modern environmentally-friending housing scheme in Caernarfon which marks the first home building project by the Council in over a quarter of a century,” Councillor Craig ab Iago said.
“This is the kind of exciting scheme that can make a real difference in the local housing market, and I’m proud that we can offer concrete solutions like this here in Gwynedd.
“The Housing Action Plan also includes over 30 other projects that will seek to tackle the challenges across the sector including providing more accommodation for homeless people, building more social housing for residents and bringing empty houses back into use.
“We have been ambitious, and we are looking forward to starting the work in early 2021.”
Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet will consider the Housing Action Plan report on 15 December 2020.