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Hundreds are scrambling for council homes in idyllic village

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

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THE need for affordable housing has sharpened so much that almost 300 people applied to live in one council bungalow when it came up for grabs in Minchinhampton.

The stark reality of the situation came to light in a parish council survey carried out this May in support of a newly-submitted bid to build 20 homes for rent in the village.

The Sanctuary Group housing association has just submitted its proposals for the houses at The Bulwarks east of Glebe Farm.

Its survey shows 77 households are registered with Gloucestershire Homeseeker as needing homes in Minchinhampton.

Over the past two and a half years only 22 council homes have became available in the parish, it says.

One of them – a two-bedroom bungalow – was subject to 275 applications when it came up for rent. A two-bedroom house drew 104 bids.

Affordable housing stock in Minchinhampton has remained almost unchanged since the original needs report in 2005, apart from the loss of a three-bedroom house which was sold under the right-to-buy scheme, Sanctuary's architect Dougal Anderson said.

"With no addition to the total amount of affordable housing in Minchinhampton in recent years and greater difficulty in obtaining finance for housing, housing needs have worsened since the 2005 survey was completed," he said.

Sanctuary's plans for The Bulwarks have started to draw emails of support on Stroud District Council online planning portal.

The report's author was Gloucestershire Rural Community Council rural housing enabler Martin Hutchings.

He said Minchinhampton was similar to many other Gloucestershire villages.

"Basically, a lot of rural Gloucestershire is a terrific place to live and, hence, prices and restrictions of planning policies over the years have kept supply of affordable houses low," he said.

His report highlights the average price of a flat in Minchinhampton is around £200,000.

With average earnings in the Stroud area just under £20,000 a year a couple might together earn £40,000.

It means they would be at least £10,000 short of the gross income needed to secure a mortgage on the £200,000 flat.

Coun Dennis Andrewartha (LibDem, Cam East), pictured, is the district council's executive member for planning.

He said: "Affordable housing is obviously a priority for this council.

"On The Bulwarks site, our exception sites policy means all of these homes will be affordable and only available to people with a local connection.

"I'm delighted to see Sanctuary Housing put this application forward and will be even more delighted to see the community, in the beautiful village of Minchin-hampton, preserved and strengthened once the homes are built and occupied."

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  • Bonkim2003  |  October 03 2012, 10:38PM

    polyphonic - yes and once here they can apply for benefits/GlosCC services.

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  • polyphonic  |  October 03 2012, 8:02PM

    The numbers are skewed by the fact that Gloucestershire homeseeker is open to applicants thoughout the country. Supported housing in the Forest of Dean is very popular with people from all over the country looking for a rural retreat and you would be surprised by the numbers who actually get homes here.

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