Tackling the Island’s Housing Issues

Following on from debating Housing Policy at our AGM in August, Liberal Vannin is holding a public meeting to discuss ‘Tackling the Island’s Housing Issues” at 7.30pm on Monday, October 23rd at the Manx Legion Club, Douglas.

The discussion, to be led by David Ashford, MHK, recently appointed Chair of the Housing & Communities Board, will focus on the government’s proposal to establish an Island-wide Housing Association and its draft Homelessness Strategy.  A representative from the Island charity, Housing Matters will also be on the panel.

Anyone with an interest in  housing on the Island is invited to come along and have their say on our draft proposals:

Liberal Vannin aims to ensure that every person has access to safe, affordable and high-quality housing. We recognise that owning your own home is a prime ambition for many and can underpin the independence and security of individuals.

Combatting Homelessness

  • We recognise that homelessness has implications across other policy areas including health, crime and education. Homelessness can be the result of a variety of causes, and we need to deal with prevention as well as cure. We will campaign for:
  • Legislation to introduce a statutory duty to provide emergency accommodation for people who become homeless, especially because of domestic abuse.
  • Provide access to housing and independent living support for people leaving prison.
  • Mandating Manx Care to take responsibility for ensuring that patients being discharged into the community, children in care and young adults leaving care have suitable accommodation arranged for them and suitably trained helpers to support them.

Where and What to Build

There is an identified need to increase the Island’s housing stock, for purchase and rent, for young adults moving into their first home, for older adults downsizing and for people seeking to relocate to the Island. There is a particular need to be able to help key workers find appropriate accommodation. We propose:

  • Introducing a Greenfield Development Tax to encourage developers to look for brownfield sites before building on the countryside.
  • Strengthening powers to insist that developers include affordable housing in all new developments, including those of under 25 units, and that public bodies and agencies responsible for housing, take up ownership of all affordable housing units, for rent under social housing regulations, or purchase under subsidised mortgage schemes.

Existing Housing Stock

To make empty or under-used properties available we would:

  • Strengthen compulsory purchase powers on properties left empty for over 12 months without reasonable cause,
  • Introduce mandatory improvement grants for unfit, privately rented houses; this would be subject to the property remaining in tenanted occupation at least three years after the grant is given.
  • Substantially improve the government’s Green Living Grant scheme to enable more homeowners to replace fossil fuel heating systems.
  • Introduce a premium of up to 100% on the rates for second homes and require change of use planning consent for the transfer of a full-time residence to be used as a second home.

We support the transfer of existing social housing to an Island-wide Housing Association / Trust, which will have responsibility for the management and administration of social housing within a Tynwald approved policy framework.