Radical plan to deliver affordable housing

Retired pig farmer says rural homes can be provided at no cost to the public purse.

THE dire shortage of affordable housing in rural areas has been occupying the minds of politicians for years - without much development taking place.

Now a former pig farmer from East Devon thinks he has come up with the solution and, he says, it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny.

Robert Persey, 59, of Broadhembury, wants his radical housing policy trailed in Dulford, between Honiton and Cullompton.

And, just like Prime Minister David Cameron recently suggested, Mr Persey says tenancies on the new homes should be for fixed terms of five years - and not for life.

His 50/50/70 scheme aims to deliver 50 per cent of low rent housing through mixed developments, with proceeds of new, market value homes being used to fund the building of new homes for rent.

Rents, payable to the developer, would be set at 70 per cent of the local market rent, but the homes would only be made available to those on council house waiting lists for 50 years.

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After that, the properties could be sold or rented on the open market.

“This sort of housing would appeal to a property fund, because the capital growth would be greater than that on other tenanted property,” said Mr Persey.

“The higher capital growth is achieved because the property will have a discounted value at the beginning as a result of the reduced rental scheme.

“However, the value of the property will rise, in a similar way to gilts, as the time for redemption approaches.”

Mr Persey says developers could enter into agreements with district councils to make homes available to those on waiting lists.

“I believe that a radical approach is required to get social housing built,” he told the Midweek Herald.

“A formula has to been found that will bring land forward for development that will encourage the private sector to fund social housing.

“Local authorities have recently highlighted land suitable for housing under the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, so there is not a shortage of land.”

Mr Persey has raised his proposal with Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish.

He wants to see a hectare of land at Pitmans Farm, in Dulford, used to deliver two, three and four bedroom houses.

The site has already been identified by East Devon District Council as suitable for development.

A discussion document about the proposals is available from village shops in Broadhembury, Plymtree and Kentisbeare or by calling (01404) 841202.