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Estimated need for housing in Cardiff ‘daunting’, says councillor

Cardiff Council cabinet member for housing and communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, called the estimated need for housing over the next five years "daunting" (Pic: Cardiff Council)

THOUSANDS of homes will be needed in Cardiff over the next five years, according to council data.

Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for housing and communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, called the predicted level of housing need presented in a housing market assessment report “daunting”.

The Cardiff local housing market assessment report (2022-2027), shows that the net annual average annual additional affordable housing need for the city over the next five years is estimated to be 1,334 homes.

The same data shows the estimate for the gross average annual additional affordable housing need for the next five years to be 2,454 homes. When including market housing, this figure rises to 3,220 homes.

Speaking at a Cardiff Council community and adult services scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, May 13, Cllr Thorne said: “The pressure on our homelessness services is still extraordinary and the staff are doing a remarkable job every day to provide the support that the families and individuals need.

“There are signs of progress and this is encouraging, but as we know development is not speedy and that is why I am so keen to ensure that we use every delivery option available to us to increase the affordable accommodation across the city.”

Cardiff Council is set to present a new set of proposals before cabinet members at a meeting on Thursday, May 23, which could create 250 new affordable homes.

Proposals approved last year for the purchase of land and property to alleviate pressure on the council fell through after the opportunity was withdrawn by the vendor.

The council’s new proposal includes purchasing two commercial properties – one of which could be converted for residential use to deliver 79 new homes and the other of which would deliver 20 new family apartments.

A vacant development site close to these two buildings is also available and would allow the council to expand its modular homes programme to create about 150 homes for temporary or long-term family accommodation.

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As well as considering the new property and land acquisitions, cabinet is recommended to approve the continued use of hotels in the city as temporary accommodation for a further 12 months.

Cllr Thorne said: “Hotel use will be ended as soon as we possibly can but at the moment, the planned and exclusive use of hotels provides us with greater certainty of availability than ad hoc placements and more stability for residents who are already going through a disruptive experience.

“Council support staff will continue to be based at the hotels to assist residents to access help and services.”

Speaking about some of the initiatives the council has already worked on at Monday’s scrutiny meeting, Cllr Thorne mentioned Addison House – an independent living scheme in Rumney made up of 44 one to two bedroom flats.

The cabinet member said the new homes had made 34 family homes available “almost overnight” for those who needed them.

She said: “Our new proposals are quite innovative. We need innovative solutions to address not just the current housing need but those for the future as well.”

On the future demand for housing, Cllr Thorne went on to say: “It is daunting, so we need to increase both the scale and the pace of what we are doing and I am excited about the options to increase the use of modular homes as part of our proposal.”

In Cardiff there are currently 1,028 single people in temporary and emergency accommodation, 122 families living in hotels and 595 families in standard temporary provision.

In the medium term, the council plans the ‘meanwhile use’ of vacant sites for the construction of around 350 additional modular units via Cardiff Living, its new homes partnership programme with developer Wates Residential.

Progress to secure Welsh Government approval and funding support for 35 units at Ty Ephraim, one of the council’s existing provisions for single people,

has been successful and discussions are ongoing around further sites.

In the longer term, the council’s house building programme will continue to deliver new council and affordable homes for sale at 60 sites across the city, with the capacity for more than 4,000 new homes.

Currently, 1,127 new council homes have been completed and an additional 368 units are under construction on site.