Today, Plaid Cymru Councillor Craig ab Iago who leads on housing in Gwynedd is pleased to announce a new housing action plan for the county, with a minimum budget of £77million over the next seven years.
The purpose of the plan is to respond to the growing housing crisis in Gwynedd, with the emphasis on housing local people, people in need and investing in the county's housing stock for the future.
“I live, eat and sleep Gwynedd housing at the moment. I firmly believe that the Welsh Government must be challenged and pushed to make changes to solve the housing problem we have in Gwynedd. This plan sets out a clear strategy to address the problems that we can tackle ourselves.
“But, of course, we don't have the power to do everything. The First Minister, Mark Drakeford has to have the appetite to make far-reaching changes if a Labour Government is serious about tackling housing and housing issues facing Gwynedd and other counties across Wales.”
There are five main objectives to the Gwynedd Housing Action Plan:
- ensure no one finds themselves homeless in Gwynedd
- make social housing available to all who need it
- ensure everyone in Gwynedd has a home that is affordable to them
- ensure Gwynedd's housing is environmentally friendly
- ensure homes have a positive influence on the health and well-being of Gwynedd's residents
“It is an ambitious plan, which will require financial investment, collaboration with other partner and organisations, hard work and perseverance. But this is the vision, this is the plan and this is the road we will drive in Gwynedd over the next 7 years.”
As part of the scheme, plans include building over 1500 new units for Gwynedd residents over the next seven years.
One element of the plan is to repurchase 72 social houses so that they can be let to local residents searching for homes in Gwynedd. Buying former 'council houses' that are up for sale is a way to increase the amount of social housing available for local people to rent.
Another element of the scheme will be to extend the homebuy scheme where the council lends up to 20% of the value of the house, up to £30,000, towards a mortgage deposit for first-time buyers. The scheme can fund up to 100 houses for local residents, and if the owners sell and move on, the council will reinvest their fund into the next house.
In order to assist 120 first time buyers, the housing plan also offers people buying empty properties the opportunity to avoid paying council tax for an extra year, as the new owners undertake essential work to restore their new property.
Also included in the plan is a commitment to bringing 250 empty homes in the county back to use, through a grant scheme. The purpose of the grant will be to assist first time buyers to get their foot on the property ladder and to support them to renovate empty homes within Gwynedd communities.
Councillor Craig ab Iago said: “The one overriding theme that ties the whole plan together is the drive to assist the people of Gwynedd who wish to continue living within their county. It's a huge challenge, but one that I and Plaid Cymru Gwynedd Councillors are committed to. I'm looking forward to the task.”
“I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Cyngor Gwynedd’s housing department team for their work in co-ordinating, researching and preparing the new Housing Action Plan. It's an exciting time for us and the people of Gwynedd.”
Councillor Craig ab Iago will present his housing plan to Cyngor Gwynedd's cabinet in its meeting today (15 December 2020).