North Devon residents who have been unable to afford to rent privately or struggled to get on the property ladder have been given a helping hand, with a record number of affordable homes being built in the district.

North Devon Council has reported that between 2019 and 2020, 233 affordable homes were made ready for occupation in this time period, which is a 40% increase on the previous year and the highest number of affordable homes ever completed in North Devon. 

This can be affordable housing required via the planning system from developer-led schemes, joint ventures with housing associations and developers, or open market housing converted to affordable housing by housing associations using funding from Homes England.

The affordable homes, which are cheaper than open market rent or sale properties, often hold a local connection requirement which means local people who might otherwise be priced out of their communities are given first refusal to rent or buy them if they meet the criteria. 

Councillor Nicola Topham, Lead Member for Housing at North Devon Council says: "It is really great news that we have seen such a rise in affordable homes being completed across the district. Most of these properties are built by developers who are required to provide the amount of affordable housing required by our Local Plan. This has meant that many residents who have struggled to rent privately or get onto the property ladder in their home communities now have an affordable way to do so."

The importance of adequate housing has been particularly highlighted over the past four months with the COVID-19 lockdown. The link between housing and health in particular mental health has risen in profile nationally. Many households have found themselves crammed into inadequate and crowded conditions over a significant period of time. For this reason, North Devon Council is proud to be supporting the upcoming Homes at the Heart campaign, a national campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.

Information on how to apply for a affordable housing is available in the housing section of the council's website.