Following our evening public discussion on housing matters last Thursday, Liberal Vannin reaffirms its policy commitment agreed last year:
Liberal Vannin will campaign for an Island-wide policy to provide affordable, suitable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of Manx residents.
In doing so, we recognise that:
- More lower cost homes for purchase and rent need to be provided to meet demand. Conversion of properties in Douglas town centre, Ramsey, Peel and Castletown for residential use will help local shops, bars and cafes. More low-cost mortgages and similar schemes are required to help young people buy their first home and those needing to purchase due to relationship breakdown. Restrictions may be needed to reduce buy to let purchases and ensure subsidised homes remain available into the future, for people on low incomes.
- A range of accommodation is required to suit the variety of needs of people’s changing circumstances: young people leaving their parental home; growing families; sheltered housing and care homes for our growing numbers of elderly people, within the communities in which they already live. An Island wide survey must be undertaken to assess housing need: desired location; size and type of housing; rent or purchase. Suitable accommodation also means adapting existing homes with loans and grants to help people improve insulation and replace fossil fuel boilers.
- Finding sustainable ways of providing development land and encouraging a range of builders to provide the homes we need will mean that existing housing strategies and planning frameworks should be reviewed by the next administration. Past assumptions on population growth and housing requirements will need to be challenged, based on the data from this year’s census, more people choosing to work from home, etc.
Former Liberal Vannin Party Leader, Peter Karran at the meeting, said:
“It is not a simple issue of creating more housing if it’s going to be bought up by the investment market and then used to exploit people who cannot afford to get on the property ladder. People need nests, not nest eggs”
Lawrie Hooper, current Party Leader and MHK for Ramsey, stated:
“Housing need is a spectrum from public sector on the one hand to ownership on the other. We need to have flexible approaches to allow everyone the opportunity to have affordable, suitable and sustainable homes as their needs change throughout their lives”
Party Chair, Paul Weatherall highlighted the issue facing residents of the Corrin Memorial Home in Peel:
“The Island’s Housing Strategy must have as its top priority, ensuring that no-one on the Island is or becomes homeless. Steps must be taken to provide affordable, suitable and sustainable accommodation, in Peel, for the residents of the Corrin Memorial Home. Until that is in place, the threat of closure must be removed.”