Experts, councillors and parliamentarians from across Devon have joined together to form a powerful voice to tackle the county’s housing crisis.
A new Housing Commission – which has been established by the Devon Housing Task Force, a partnership between the eleven local authorities across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay – and supported by the University of Exeter, will develop recommendations to start to address the broken housing markets across Devon.
The shortage of appropriate homes is having an impact on people’s health and the economy. The Commission will allow those affected to have their say and inform representations to Government.
People and organisations in Devon can have their say on issues related to housing by responding to a survey.
The Commission will show the importance of decent housing to Devon’s prosperity, economic growth and social mobility. It is chaired by Lord Richard Best, a widely experienced expert in housing issues, and will be managed by Matthew Dodd from the University of Exeter. Commissioners will include prominent politicians and housing experts from across Devon, representing the various housing challenges and opportunities that the county experiences.
The Commissioners are Charles Courtenay, the Earl of Devon, Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, Karime Hassan, former Chief Executive of Exeter City Council, Professor Anna Mountford Zimdars, Director of the University of Exeter’s Centre for Social Mobility, Keith Miller, Deputy Chair of Cavanna Homes, Judy Pearce, former Leader of South Hams District Council, Cllr Chris Penberthy, Housing Lead of Plymouth City Council, North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, Jaqueline Starr, incoming Chair of LiveWest Housing Association, Cllr Dave Thomas, Leader of Torbay Council and Alison Ward, Director of Middlemarch Community Led Housing.
Local authorities involved are: Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, South Hams District Council, Plymouth City Council, North Devon District Council, Mid Devon District Council and Teignbridge District Council, West Devon Borough Council, Torridge District Council and Torbay Council.
Those on the Devon Housing Commission will take evidence from communities across Devon over the next year.
Lord Best said: “By bringing together those with a major role across the county the Commission will be a powerful voice for the importance of good quality housing for health and the economy.
“The Commission will allow us to fully understand the origins of current pressures and look for innovative solutions from collective local action or significant policy change.”
Cllr Mandy Ewings, Leader of West Devon Borough Council and Chair of the Devon Housing Task Force said: “The Devon Housing Commission represents a real opportunity to bring together people and expertise from across the county and beyond to make a positive change to tackling the housing crisis. We were delighted to secure Lord Best as the Chair of the Commission and we look forward to working together over the next year and responding to the findings of the Commission in order to deliver better housing outcomes for local people.”
The Commission has been funded by the eleven local authorities and University of Exeter. Those involved will work to develop a clear picture of housing problems and the future need for housing supply. They will be supported by a panel of advisers and will engage significantly with experts and others locally and regionally, including councils, developers, charities, health partners, and many others.
Issues likely to be examined by the Commission include housing supply, homelessness, housing affordability, how to create attractive communities, integrating housing with health and care, the impact of short-term letting, holiday accommodation, student housing and second homes. The Commission will also be looking at how to deliver affordable housing in our rural communities while protecting the environment.