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New borough housing strategy envisions quality and accessible homes for all

'Quality and accessible homes for all' is the clear vision of a new Housing Strategy for St Helens Borough, adopted by the council's Cabinet today (Wednesday 22 June 2022).

Aerial of houses and playing fields

Article date: 22 June 2022

The strategy sets out the borough's future housing needs, the council's commitment to building quality and accessible homes for everyone, and to improving and strengthening neighbourhoods over the next five years. 

In January this year, Following the development of the draft strategy, informed by workshops with partner agencies, Cabinet approved a six-week consultation to capture the views of residents and stakeholders on the draft strategy's objectives. Most respondents, including Torus and St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) were in support of the strategy's vision and objectives. 

There are five key objectives, with the strategy intended to support the council's journey towards net zero carbon emissions through its housing supply; to improve the health and wellbeing of residents by addressing the importance of safe, warm and digitally and socially connected housing; to create communities; and provide supported and specialist housing. 

And lastly, the Housing Strategy will support the Local Plan's vision to create good, quality and affordable housing, broadening the housing stock, meeting local needs, providing safe and sustainable communities, and making the borough a residential destination of choice. Growth and regeneration of housing will also bring opportunities to provide direct employment, invest into the local employment market and develop skills within the community for the future. 

The objective with the greatest level of support from the consultation was 'bring back into use long-term empty homes that have a detrimental impact on our neighbourhoods', which received support from over 89 per cent of the respondents. 

While the vision and objectives remain unchanged following the feedback, in response to the consultation a number of amendments have been made, including greater consideration of accommodation options for children in care and a strengthened priority around poor standards in the private rented sector. 

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: 

"Emerging from this challenging time, we now have a period of opportunity to reset our expectations in relation to housing - with transformational regeneration planned for our Town Centres, a new Local Plan for the borough and clear priorities within our Borough Strategy, our Housing Strategy sets out the central role that housing will have in improving our borough. 

"We have developed the strategy around the theme of 'quality and accessible homes for all' - quality in the homes that we build, the investment that we make to existing homes and the neighbourhoods that we live in, and homes that are accessible in that we all have opportunities to live in a home that meets our needs and aspirations. 

"This strategy is our statement of intent, our list of actions over the coming years and we appreciate the time and consideration that residents and partners have given as part of this consultation." 

During the course of the five-year plan there will be further opportunities for both residents and stakeholders to continue to inform the strategy's delivery. 

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