Our engagement with people in Ivybridge has demonstrated there is a need, and current ‘affordable’ housing is not fit-for-purpose.
We know there is a large amount of 'so called' affordable housing allocated in the Ivybridge and Ugborough parishes already. But we would argue that the housing currently being built is not fit-for-purpose. Typically, house builders produce homes connected to the gas network that do not meet the 2050 energy efficiency standard and will need to be retrofitted in several years at great cost to homeowners. Current UK policies have us on a trajectory to 3C of global warming, the IPCC reports are clear that we need to limit warming to 1.5C, so we know we need to take bold and decisive actions now.
This development will provide affordable, healthy housing, energy and transport and will continue to be available and affordable for rent only for the foreseeable future. It is a legacy project. This is what people in Ivybridge have told us we need, in our earlier engagements. The offering from the housebuilders is substandard and does NOT meet our needs as a community.
We know from our experience of delivering energy advice to vulnerable householders that many people living in newly constructed houses are still in fuel poverty, with very high energy costs. We believe it is time to update the definition of affordability. It should be addressing the lifetime cost of the property and not just the selling price.
A full Housing Needs report has been undertaken which shows a clear need for these homes in the area. We also have had many enquiries from local people in housing need who would like to live on this site.
The elephant in the room - hundreds of new houses being built in Ivybridge - who do we need more?
Ivybridge has changed dramatically in the last few years since we first embarked on this project, 100s of new homes have been built on the east and west of the town, so you may be thinking - why does Ivybridge need even more houses?
Despite promises from the big developers to build 30% affordable housing, they have managed to get away with building less than 20% affordable homes. And in reality 'affordable' is rarely real-life affordable, our research shows that what is desperately needed is social rented housing for people who already live in the area.
Many local residents are concerned about pressure on healthcare and schools, which are both already over-subscribed. But the priority for the homes at Springfield Orchard will be people who are ALREADY living or working in Ivybridge who ALREADY have places with the local GP and their children ALREADY attend the schools. They ALREADY drive in the area, so will not increase traffic in the town, in fact we aim to reduce car use by providing an EV car club.