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St Helena : THE FUTURE OF HOUSING ON ST HELENA
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 22.12.2012 (Article Archived on 05.01.2013)

The future of housing on St Helena is a sensitive issue and concerns include three points - how many homes will be built on the Island, who will build these homes and will Saints benefit?

THE FUTURE OF HOUSING ON ST HELENA


 


The future of housing on St Helena is a sensitive issue and concerns include three points - how many homes will be built on the Island, who will build these homes and will Saints benefit?


 


How many homes will be built on the Island?


 


Housing Executive Andy Crowe said:


 


‘Getting funding for the airport has meant that there have to be enough homes for local people to work in the businesses that tourism will generate, as well as places for tourists to stay. The opportunities and threats that development posed before the airport are very different to those that we now face – and the Island and SHG are adapting. SHG has produced a local development plan, which identifies the large sites and other areas lending themselves to multiple new homes. A housing strategy has also been produced with the aim to construct ‘up to 350 high quality intermediate low income housing units to rent, buy or build by 2022.’


 


The strategy is available on the home page of the SHG website, at www.sainthelena.gov.sh.


 


‘The reasoning behind these plans is to give the people of St Helena far greater control over what happens to housing than just leaving it to the market. In tourist areas like St Ives in Cornwall for example, half of all homes are second homes and the cheapest place you can buy costs £200,000. We don’t want that to happen here and that is why the housing strategy requires that a high proportion of all new homes be affordable. This is vital- affordable housing for local people has always been a priority for me.’


 


Who will build these homes?


 


Andy is quick to emphasise that ‘making plans does not build homes. There is a need to build the homes quickly enough to meet the demand and to take advantage of all of the green technology that is now available. With electricity prices soaring worldwide, anybody who can generate their own electricity will be better off. By being able to recycle water you cut down on your water bills. Insulated and damp-proofed homes have healthier residents. All of this requires plenty of skilled labour and the challenge will be to build those skills so that there are more, higher paid jobs for Saints. If there aren’t the skills at first then we will need to import them, but remember that it is in every developer’s interest to employ skilled local people rather than have to pay to ship in and house the labour.’ Each site will be different and could involve a mix of self builders, local building companies and volume builders.


 


Over the coming weeks Andy will be meeting with local builders to gather their views on building practices and to scope the skills available. He encourages builders (including those interested in self build) to contact him on telephone no. 2211.


 


Will Saints benefit?


 


Finally, what do we mean by affordable? How will locals get a look in? ‘Well in the UK affordable is now defined as 80% of market rents, but that is just nonsense. A better equation for renting is 25% of household income and for home ownership it is however much you can borrow, within reason. I don’t have a fixed view on this, so we’ll be consulting on this issue too.’


 


SHG


18 December 2012

 

This article is the Property and Copyright of Saint Helena Herald.

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