Friday, 26 November 2010

Priced-out: The housing situation on Ynys Môn

I wrote on Wednesday regarding the demographic double-whammy facing Anglesey over the next 20 years, with the numbers of over 75s expected to almost double whilst simultaneously the number of younger people aged between 25-59 will reduce by 14 percent. There are many reasons for the outward migration of younger people from the island: most notably people leaving to either attend university or to find work (in my case, I did both). However, to my mind there is one other major reason forcing younger people to leave and that is the price of houses on the Island. According to the latest figures on the BBC website, the average house price on Anglesey during the period April-June 2010 was £171,075 -- thus making Anglesey homes more expensive on average than anywhere else in the whole of North Wales.

This is particularly significant when we compare this average house price with average earnings on the Island. Using the latest figures available (2009) the average gross weekly earnings on Anglesey was £492, or approximately £25,610 p.a. (please also note that these figures include the relatively higher wages paid by Anglesey Aluminium at the time, meaning that the actual average wage on the Island has probably slumped somewhat since 2009). This means that the average Anglesey home is almost 7x the average wage. When you consider that even at the height of the housing bubble banks were not offering mortgages even approaching 7x earnings, it makes it very clear how very difficult it is for younger Anglesey residents' to get on the first rung of the housing ladder, without first being able to build up a substantial deposit. To be fair, as the below chart shows the situation is similar across the whole of North Wales, with only Conway houses being more expensive relative to local wages. However, as absolute house prices on Anglesey are that much higher it is clear that it is a significant problem here on Anglesey.

For me this highlights just how important is the need for Anglesey County Council to speed up the completion of the Local Development Plan -- which it is now working on in conjunction with Gwynedd Council. Currently present policies are based on the adopted Ynys Môn Local Plan (1996) and the stopped Unitary Development Plan (2005) -- both of these documents are seriously outdated in all areas: industrial, commercial, and, as discussed above, most importantly in the field of housing and affordable housing. Without increasing the amount of housing available on the island we will continue to drive younger people over the bridge and therefore the Council must as a matter of urgency speed up the finalisation of its joint plan with Gwynedd.


Photon said...

"the average Anglesey home is almost 7x the average wage."

Yes, but if you point this rather obvious fact out to any council policy makers, they look at you with some surprise. If something doesn't affect you, you tend not to be too troubled with the problem.

I wonder what the Conservatives' answer to this problem is? I hope they're not supporting the Council's current 'affordable' policy, which claims that 70% of market value for any property is affordable. At nearly 5x the average wage, this is still way too high for most.

Are the Tories about to become socially-minded and actually help people, or will they carry on selling Council houses and turfing tenants out as soon as the state decides they've outstayed their welcome?

Ultimately, the reason houses are so expensive is because we're all far too greedy and use them as a step-up to bigger houses or just lining our wallets. The last time I checked, the free market approach to society was firmly the Tory line. You can't have things all ways.

Welsh Ramblings said...

I am left scratching my head at this post- affordable, social housing can no longer be built at the rate of demand in the UK because Thatcher changed the Treasury rules to favour the property market (and the 'right to buy' legislation which has sucked homes out of the 'affordable' category at a rate faster than they can be replaced). This was a deliberate policy to empower people by turning them into home owners- Thatcherism does not want the concept of "social housing" (or social anything) to exist because it envisaged a large proportion of the population becoming prosperous enough not to need social housing.

Real life of course did not pan out that way. Labour maintained the same Treasury rules and now the Tories are back in and committed to keeping them.

The kind of housing policy you want to see, is in direct contradiction to the very essence of Conservative Party thinking on housing for the past two decades.

I know Plaid have done things i've disagreed with but hardly to the extent where i'd write off the past two decades of their political history...

If you want to go for the Assembly you should get a grip with your own party's political history and the wide-ranging changes you introduced to society which are still causing problems today.

Prometheuswrites said...

"... the number of younger people aged between 25-59 will reduce by 14 percent".

We may well have more in common with Ireland than we think.

Except over there housing prices have crashed by up to 60% - and there are still whole new-build housing estates just 30 miles from Dublin that are uninhabited.

I wonder whether the obvious solution to the lack of housing for young Irish people, (well covered in our media), will be taken up by the (next) government of Ireland, before the young people themselves vote with their feet.

The Red Flag said...

The average wage is significantly higher than the average working wage. The average working wage is somewhere down arond the 15-16K mark. How many people working at Tescos, or the Port, or Morrisons earn just 20K - not very many I can assure you. Full time workers in the port call centre earn a fraction under 14K full time for instance.

I have had this argument before - affordable housing is nothing of the sort if a couple on the average working wage cannot afford it.

No matter how many articles people write, meetings they hold or studies they undertake there are only two answers to Anglesey's problems - a huge upsurge in high paying permanent skilled jobs (ha ha ha ha) or a massive social housing project building quality housing for singles, couples, families, you and elderly, for rent at social levels.

Did you know for instance that there are 4,000 outstanding applications for council houses on the Island?

You can argue away that the private sector can fill the gap. No it cannot. People have the right to a secure home and the private sector does not give that security. In addition private rents - £100pw for a 100-year-old 2 bed terrace, are scandalous when you take the earning levels in to consideration, let alone the lack of security.

It is a disgraceful state of affairs and a monumental failing of the last (so-called) Labour government to correct the damage to social housing Thatcher did and did deliberately.

Prometheuswrites said...

Welsh Ramblings:

The problem is nowadays that there's more variation of political spectrum within the parties than between the parties.

With the death of political ideology, (starting with the Thatcherites embracing Friedman's monetarism and Labour's abandonment of clause 4), it's become allmost immpossible to tell the difference between the main parties any longer.

(A bit like the comment from Puck on one of the previous threads about mixing paint).

Maybe someone could comment and explicate the differences?

Welsh Ramblings said...

"The problem is nowadays that there's more variation of political spectrum within the parties than between the parties.

With the death of political ideology, (starting with the Thatcherites embracing Friedman's monetarism and Labour's abandonment of clause 4), it's become allmost immpossible to tell the difference between the main parties any longer.

(A bit like the comment from Puck on one of the previous threads about mixing paint).

Maybe someone could comment and explicate the differences?"

You've hit the nail on the head.

Of course though, Plaid Cymru is a mainstream party and is qualitatively different to the other mainstream parties ideologically, in that it never did embrace Thatcherism or Friedmanite thinking and for all their faults, Plaid continue to think up ideas that are not ideologically or dogmatically contained within that narrow neoliberal world view.

If you're going to put your name to a party politically, I don't expect the person to agree with everything the party does, but it isn't consistent to use a party name for electoral advantage and then reject decades of their ideological foundation.

There are still differences between Labour and the Tories but they are based on managerialism and scale, rather than philosophy. Despite their current rhetoric, Labour were planning to make significant cuts and huge welfare reforms, and did not offer any substantial tax on bank profits or bonsues. They differ on the timing of the cuts and the proportion of tax rises, but it is the seem basic ideology, predicated on using the financial services sector to drive credit-based growth.

Plaid does not indulge in that, they are distinct, whatever other criticisms may be made of them.

Photon said...

Welsh Ramblings: I'm similarly scratching my head about the Tory disdain for 'too many' south Wales valleys people being on disability allowances when it was Thatcher who practically press-ganged whole towns onto them in order to massage unemployment figures at the time.

This is the problem for many of us: we like Paul, but we don't like his party. Anglesey would seem to be a million miles away from anything to do with the Conservatives, quite honestly. Not that I support Plaid, mind you.

Prometheuswrites said...

Welsh Ramblings: I appreciate your comments and share your sentiments about credit-based growth.

I'm not that well informed about Plaid's political platform - however my critique of party ideology extends to Plaid too; having read John Dixon's excellent blog 'Borthlas' that has the strapline:

"An unrepentant radical who believes strongly that we can reshape economics to serve humanity rather than adapt humanity to serve economics".

Which (given past events) suggests differences in political strategy at the least within Plaid's membership.

Anonymous said...

For generations, the cream of our youth, have had to leave this Island, with the promise of returning, but not many do, most settle down, get married, make their own lives and careers away from us. Most return back for funerals, weddings, the occasional weekend, but their lives are away. I was discussing the problem with a friend, his children, having been educated locally, left for University, and they have settled into their chosen careers. We both know, that like us, they will never return, what would make their return more attractive? Jobs, would be ideal, but the carrot would be an affordable home, so that they would at least come back and stay, and maybe start a family here, make a life here, instead of being away from us all. We must stop the brain drain from Anglesey and help them to return, with an affordable home, it's our future that's at risk.

Anonymous said...

[Long post, with numbers, sorry]

If the average price of a house is ~£170K, what kind of household income is required to buy it?

I'm way out of date with finance but let's look at some numbers. If these are wrong, feel free to offer an alternative.

Suppose a couple have a first time buyer property to sell, and they have (say) 20K equity in the property (is that the right term?). So to buy their new home at £170K they need (say) a £150K mortgage.

Can I assume pre-bubble lending ratios ie maximum loan of 2.5 x main salary plus 1 x 2nd salary? (this would have been questionable five years ago, but now?)

If for simplicity we assume the main and 2nd salaries are equal, in very very very rough terms we find that the required salary is around £40K per person, do we not?

How on earth does the average house price work out to be £170K when (given sensible lending criteria) it needs a household income of £80K or so to get the mortgage? How realistic is that for Anglesey? It doesn't sound like a likely average, so what gives?

Is the "average" price onAnglesey ridiculously skewed by a small number of millionaire-only properties? A non-trivial number of properties with a bit of land which farming types might use to bring in a bit of income, and the price reflects that? Or what?

I can't make sense of these numbers.

"We must stop the brain drain from Anglesey and help them to return, with an affordable home, it's our future that's at risk."

Indeed. And, in an ideal world, there is a need to attract the suitably skilled outsiders who will be needed to kick things off if new employers start to move in to the island. How does that work?

It doesn't seem to tally with an £80K household income. That's more than three times the UK average individual income, and Anglesey is said to be a low-wage area.

Am I missing something (other than the fact that UK housing in general is grossly overpriced, maybe as a result of lax lending criteria a decade or two ago)?

Paul Williams said...

I don't intend to use this blog to defend or rehearse the arguments of 20 years ago - I don't think it will get us anywhere. I am however genuinely interested in the problems of today and what can be done to help solve them.

I think it is reasonable to point out that IoACC's lack of up-to-date planning policies is unhelpful considering the gap between earnings and house prices.

Regarding Welsh Conservative policy, there is a specific recognition that more attention needs to be given to providing affordable housing in rural areas -- the 2007 Assembly Manifesto included a specific pledge to inject an extra £16m (above the increase in 'Barnett Block' Social Housing Grant to WAG) each year to increase the number of affordable houses being built, especially in rural areas. Despite a long period of economic growth up until the credit crunch, WAG has consistently failed to invest sufficiently in social and affordable housing - and consequently there now is waiting list of approx. 88,000 households in Wales.

The Red Flag said...

@19:04 Anonymous

The banks - in all their infinite wisdom and because interest rates were low, were lending 5 times salary and not only that but with no deposit and up to 125% of the value of the property. Bargain? There's more....they also allowed you to self-certify your income with no checks.

Marvellous stuff.

And Paul/Druid - never mind the developmant plan, what are YOU going to campaign on. How many social dwellings for both rent and purchase? Built over what period of time? And where? Because people are going to ask you on the doorstep and they will expect a proper answer not something abstract such as "when conditions allow", "we aim" and the other usual dodges that the other suspoects regularly trot out. Because of the expenses scandal the electorate no demand firm and definate answers - they have learnt not to give politicians manoevre room.

Another thing you are going to get slapped with on the campaign trail is the utterly ridiculous and typically Thatcherite-heartless proposal to conntinually re-assess council house tenanats.

People have a right to guarenteed long-term accommodation with a secure tenancy. They have a right to stability in their lives. Government doesn't have an obligation to provide this, it has a cast-iron duty or it is a waste of space and serves liitll purpose if it can't even guarentee basics.

Until the tories came out with this ridiculous idea I had a lot of sympathy for Cameron and the situation he found himself in economically. But if all he can do is make lower-paid peoples lives more unstable then he deserves the trouble that's coming and hopefully he will be turfed out of office in shame and disgrace. Just that one ill thought out idea regarding social housing has definately lost him the next election unless he puiblicly scraps the idea and probably scuppered any chance you had.

All everybody says is "Same old tories, look after the bankers and shit on the poor". (even though it was actually New Labour that bunged the bankers all that dosh.)

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with the maths here Paul is the length of mortgages, as you are aware, the length of the mortgage in this Country is 25 years, in Germany, the banker of EuroZone, the average mortgage length is 100 years.

Anonymous said...

The Funding needed to build social housing is available, the catch is where and who is eligible, the where is any town or village with a school, and the eligibility test is local housing for local people. End of.
Gwynedd and Anglesey, should get their act together and sort this one out, before we start seeing our language and culture dissolve in front of our eyes. It wouldn't bother me if social housing were built and they were all occupied by the unemployed at least we are looking after our future, be it bleak and hopeless, at least our villages won't be full of retired people, who will never be able to breed, the rate we are losing our youth, there will be no Welsh Speaking people in our towns and villages in 50 years time, I won't be, but I hope my warning isn't going on deaf ears, to keep our culture and way of life, keep our people!

Anonymous said...

If the lenght if a mortgage is 100 years in Germany, who lost both wars, and our is 25 years where we have to work our arses off to pay for it, then probably die of work related stress, then my question is who won the war?

Jac o' the North said...

The provision of housing - both social and private - in rural Wales must be linked to Welsh identity and determined by local need.

Otherwise we shall continue to lose our own youngsters and see them replaced by elderly English. What sort of country will that give us in 50 years?

Of course, one that votes Conservative!

The Red Flag said...

Anon 20:27 - Mortgages in Germany are usually 10 years not 100. Houses are an awful lot cheaper than here (€100,000 will get you a 4 bed detached, front and rear garden, garage in semi-rural area near Celle about 40KM north of Hannover). Private rentals are strictly regulated and the tenants cannot be evicted or have their lease terminated without permission of the local Landkriess (council). Rents are also cheaper than here by quite asignificant amount and are controlled by the state and based on floor space.

Buying a house is considered extremly unusual until you are retired or at least in your 50's and people who buy one young are viewed with great suspicion.

Anonymous said...

But who won the war? we may have won the world wars but the economic war has left us gutted, and hung up to dry, and social housing I'm all for it, for locals and not imports.

The Red Flag said...

This is an american guide to buying property in Germany but you'll get the drift.

PS - I lived in Germany, my daughter still does and many of my ex-forces friends are married to Germans and live out there. If you were to see the pictures of my mate's hous (and small swimming pool) just outside Fallingbostel that he bought this year for €175,000 you would cry and then beat every estate agent you ever met to death.

The Red Flag said...

Anon 19:04. The banks - because they are clever and know what they are doing (unlike us on here) were lending 5 times joint income, no deposit, 125% of the value of the house. Not content with being that strict they also insisted that you could self-certify your income and demanded that they didn't check. Tight wads.

Paul/Druid - You need a better answer than that about social housing. It is a big bog issue at street level and Cameron coming out with the ridiculous idea of re-assessing council house tenants every couple of years has certainly given you an uphill struggle and if he doesn't scrap the idea then I'll nip down the bookies and place £20 on you finishing third or fourth.

Anonymous said...

Photon: "This is the problem for many of us: we like Paul, but we don't like his party. Anglesey would seem to be a million miles away from anything to do with the Conservatives, quite honestly. Not that I support Plaid, mind you."

Well, just vote for Paul with your 1st vote; and your party for the second - easy peasy:)

the outsider said...

There is one way to help get more affordable housing for local people. Within national planning guidance there is a provision for 'exception sites'. These are sites that are in the countryside and therefore are usually subject to planning restraint policies. However where there is an identified need for housing sites that are near to basic facilities, schools, transport etc, small parcels of land can be developed for social or affordable housing. I think Anglesey Council has included this in the Local Development Framework/Local Plan.
The idea is that the Council buys the land at below market value because it would not get planning permission without it being treated as an 'exception'. This reduces the building cost of the houses/homes to be built, as land is usually about 50% of cost. Smallish 1 or 2 bed houses can then be built for around £80,000 -£100,000. In fact at this price some can be offered for sale at an affordable price while the others can be kept for council/social housing. The important thing to do is to ensure that the new homes are available for local people by making them subject to a (section 106) legal agreement so that they can only be sold or rented to people with a defined local connection. This can be by birth, family connections, or because they have a job in the local area. The agreement works a bit like an agricultural occupation condition(AOC), it passes with the re-sale or to the new tennant. It can be removed but only when there is no longer any local need.

Another idea supported by the Country Land and Business Association is to allow landowners to build 1 property on their land for themselves (or to sell) as long as they build another for social renting. This could be used in conjunction with the exceptions site policy.

As this Government has said local people are to be given more control over local planning policy, then they can say where it would be appropriate to allow exception sites, and of course where it would not be right.

Anonymous said...

Housing or social housing call it what you want, a house or home, it's the only thing that will stop the export of our future generations. We must build homes for our children, if we don't we will lose them, and their loss will be someone else's gain.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me the opportunity to be simplistic as possible.

If, we agree that the old policies of housing have failed us all, why don't we decide on taking a risk on new ideas? Is it money? no. it's the simple view that I have, that the social housing policies we have all led to believe that were of benefit to us all, have in fact, failed us all. They have fucked us all up.

And, this admittance is something that is hard to swallow, why???

Because it show's that what the politicians and planners thought was good for the people and the future has in fact created this housing mess.

Their decisions were rubbish and we have got to be utterly ruthless in getting these houses or homes built, never mind the arguing, never mind the whingeing and back biting, by the time we make a decision another generation would have left, the People must decide, do we want derelict towns and villages, with our children leaving us in droves, or do we make tough and real decisions and keep them here, build homes now!

The English do it everywhere, every other council keep their people, here on Anglesey, we try our hardest to get rid of them, we don't want to invest in them. we don't want to encourage them, keep them, look after them, house them, and then we will recover. We must INVEST in our children!

The Council and their housing policies have not INVESTED wisely in our children, but we must learn not to allow them to do this mistake again, we must do it ourselves, PAUL get the houses built for local people!

TGC said...

"And Paul/Druid - never mind the developmant plan, what are YOU going to campaign on?"

Yes Paul, this is no longer the 'fight the Council' blog; it's now your platform to tell us what you would do if elected.

Will you continue to support a ridiculous, arbitrary 70% 'affordability' plan that middle-class public servants are pushing as though it were perfectly sensible? Will you promote the building of more Council homes? Will you maybe consider legislation to stop the problem with private housing at source - the use of homes as money-making vehicles - when we know everyone has a right to a stable home but that this practice is stoking-up a huge social problem?

You can see that few, if any of these solutions run down the Tory line. Their view is that, if you are somehow not really making it in life, then it's your own fault and needs only a good kick up the bottom to get you on that bus to get a job and bloody-well out of the state's hair. If you are claiming disability for MS, well, you *were* able to pick up that coin off the floor, so there's no reason why you shouldn't be back on the shovel.

Is all this nonsense? Not at all. Look at their solution to high rents in London. Instead of legislating to limit the rent that landlords expect the government to give them, they chose to turf people out to modify the market and bring (it is hoped) rents down.
That's nice. That's the Tories: see no market evil, hear no market evil, speak no market evil.

Oh, and whilst you may not want to revisit inconvenient Tory history, I rather doubt any of us will be so quick to dismiss it all as irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

The way the tories and Cameron have slashed and burnt their way across this land has alarmed a lot of people, but not most of us. First of all, we have to remember that the tories are not that big with their ideas about change, their idea about change is to bring the English Complex to bear on our way of life.
We don't give a shit about their ideas and policies, it's time that we stood up to them and stopped them from bullying us all. That's all they do is bully and harass. Stand up to them, and say NO! Listen Cameron, Listen Clegg, we are a small nation, called Wales, for years , your ancestors, the English and it's governments have tried to control us, they have taken our coal, they have taken our steel, they have taken everything of value, our cupboards are bare, the only thing of value we have left is WATER, which is owned by English Companies and English Banks, all we want is the basic right to live in our country as quietly as possible, without the shit, the shit that is coming down here from Westminster, why don't you take this shit and put it somwehere else? They can't you see, they don't care, the Camerons and the Cleggs of this world don't give a shit, sbout you, about me! All they care about is themselves, if we wait for the English tories to help us, we will wait for ever, hopefully the Welsh Tories will protect Wales and it's people!

Anonymous said...

Here is my camapign request for Paul Williams.

Please ensure that the Human Rights Act is on your agenda, the right to a peaceful life, the right to enjoy your property and the basic right not to have it interferred with by Councils and Councillors who have by virtue of their position have destroyed your life by interferring with your life and property. That's all we want Paul, to be treated with a bit of Respect!!!!

Anonymous said...

On the topic of exception sites.
There is such a site, in Llanfaelog, for 16 affordable homes. It requires an estate road, and services.
It was fiercely opposed by the local nimby's at the time, and Mr peet was at the forefront of the opposition, we recall ?
Local housing need was proven and Tai Eryri were pushing for it.
Planning permission was granted.
Tai Eryri pulled the plug and went away to more central locations.
The owner has been trying to sell the site for over 2 years.
No takers.
No private developer will take it on. Why ?
Simply not viable.

Anonymous said...

"please ensure that the Human Rights Act is on your agenda"

As much as Cameron has tried to act big and say he would remove the Human Rights Act for the many because a few prisoners have now the right to vote, the reality is that he would immediately have to replace it with something essentially identical. Why? Because the UK, as a member of the EU, is legally bound to implement the human rights we have been granted under the European Convention on Human Rights.

So, there's no need for Druid to deal with human rights, because they are nicely embedded into our culture forever more - unless the Druid is an Euro-skeptic?

Jac o' the North said...

Another factor limiting the properties available for locals is second homes. But while the English can openly discuss it (link below) here it's almost a taboo subject due to the fact that it's a Welsh / English issue.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.07
" Human Rights Act is on your agenda, the right to a peaceful life, the right to enjoy your property and the basic right not to have it interferred with by Councils and Councillors"

There's been an Anon on this blog for some weeks banging on about Human Rights. It is quite obvious that this Anon has heard someone mention it somewhere and, somewhere inside his tiny mind, thinks it's a great stick to beat up people whom he has a grudge against. This, of course, without having a clue a) The background to the Human Right Acts and what it actually contains, b) who has miraculously made absolutely £millions as a result of it since introduced by Mr Cherie Blair. c) how many out and out criminals like the Headmaster murderer, the man who put an axe through an old dears head, countless criminals/terrorists etc etc etc benefit at the expense of us all whilst laughing their socks off.

But never mind. Anon gets to trundle it out to further his own little agenda.

Shame DC has come to a screeching halt in his efforts to replace this vile, mis-used Act.If you're going to have it on your agenda Paul then at least have a look at what alternatives there are.

Anonymous said...

What is required for the provision of affordable houses (AH)is -
1. For buyers to forget (yes, difficult, but imperative) the profit-motive, and focus on simply acquiring a roof over their head.
2. The AH must be similarly affordable to successors in title.
3. The price of the AH should not be linked to open market prices, which produces a distortion : but rather to the annual movement in a local average wage earning index : this would not be difficult to compute.
4. A staircasing mechanism should be introduced whereby if the buyer can't afford 100% 0f the equity, a housing association provides the shortfall on a shared ownership, and the buyer can acquire additional tranches of the value as and when his income allows.
5. Housing associations or the Council can acquire land and provide roads and services, and sell plots to those in AH need.
But the IMPERATIVE IS that buyers change their mindset about making a profit, but rather make a home.

Anonymous said...

"As much as Cameron has tried to act big and say he would remove the Human Rights Act for the many because a few prisoners have now the right to vote"

That's strange. The prisoners issue happened a couple of weeks ago yet Cameron was banging on about the removal for months if not years before thaty.Maybe this fact doesn't fit your jaundiced view?

And the ECHR is an EU matter? Really?

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with second homes whether it be for the English or anyone else.
It's more to do with the Welsh owners selling them.
How many Welsh owner have sold their houses on the basis they will only sell to a local person on a affordable housing criteria?
Answers on the back of a postage stamp please.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.40

You might as well use the monicker
'Answers on the back of..' seeing as that's how you end all your comments!!


Anonymous said...

Anon 10.39
"And the ECHR is an EU matter? Really?"

If it is then it'll be a hell of as shock to those countries in the Council of Europe who are not in the European Union.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10.32.
The inevitable is that there must be an acceptance of a 2-tier housing market, anywhere where there is an AH need.
The open market is populated by anyone who can afford.....whereas the ah market is a protected zone populated by those who can not reach the open market.
There should be no social stigma in that.
Anyone who improves his earning position in the AH market can always move on into the open market.
But the AH must be protected against self-interested profiteering and be available on an afforablility formula to others in AH need.
Is this not a sound principle ?

Anonymous said...

I object to people using their connections on the planning committee
to gain PP, pleading they are a local family, then selling it a year or two later through Chester estate agents for £500,000 or more.

lordgnome said...

You can not build your way out of a housing price crisis. Thatcher tried it and all that happened were lots of nasty little boxes everywhere. Prices continued to rise.

This is a very small island with brilliant countryside. Lets not ruin it. The price of housing is a national issue, not just for Anglesey.
Britain as a whole is overcrowded. Face it and act by at least stopping further immigration.

Anonymous said...

Does 11.25 mean national immigration or local inmigration...there is a distinction ?

The Red Flag said...

An affordable house is not affordable unless a couple with a combined income of 30K or less can afford it. Likwise an affordable flat or small house for one person is not affordable if somone earning only 15K can't afford it. Wage levels on the island dictate that for a huge chunk of the working population 'Affordable' is little more than a joke and unless there are major improvements in the job market so that employers have to start paying decent wages instead of behaving like shameless pirates and paying the least they can get away with then there is little hope of any improvement.

We are going round in circles. The Affordable Homes programme is a not and will never address the core problem - we need a massive building programme of social housing for rent. It is the only answer. We are the only country in Europe that has such pathetic provision. If you were to build 400 council houses on the island tomorrow there would still be a problem such is the demand.

Anglesey Aluminium's site is up for sale - £10M -. You could build a massive development on there damn near as big as Holyhead itself and still have room left over for the fabled biodigester of folklore.

There are plenty of other sites where whole estates could be built. Land is not the problem - it's complete lack of political will to actually do anything other than the bear minimum they can get away with that's the problem along with a central government that keeps quoting the laughable lie that "We're all in this together" as it cuts funding to make an appalling situation even worse.

Anonymous said...

12.01 I agree the availability of land is not a problem.
For example,Holyhead itself has extant PP for as many as 1500 homes at the last count, but these are not all for AH.
The AA site will never be a housing site.
The answer lies in the suggestions made above....and a political-planning will to make it happen.

Welsh Ramblings said...

Paul/Druid- as you full well know, the Tory 2007 manifesto is completely redundant in the coming financial storm for Welsh public finances. You may as well tear up every party's 07 manifesto because the money simply isn't going to be there.

Your party wants to ringfence health. You aren't running to be elected as the Druid where you can magically safeguard jobs on Ynys Mon- you're running to join the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group. Ringfencing health means there won't be an extra £1million for housing let alone the £17m you want!

As for not repeating the debates of the past twenty years, I'm astounded. How can you possibly even discuss housing policy in Wales if you don't even understand how we got into the situation we have with huge housing waiting lists?

Those like Druid who ignore the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them in the future. Case in point- ringfencing health.

the outsider said...

houses on exception sites should not necessarily have to be built by developers or Housing Associations. With local approval and support they could be built by co-operatives, landowners, self-builders or even the Council if it has any money.

'Affordable' should be defined by the Council as 'price to average local earnings ratio', this is not the same as an affordable rent, which may or may not be paid with the help of housing benefit.

She Who Knows. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anon 19.37
"..anyone caught on to the connection...."

I have. None of them start with a letter after J. J is the 10th letter in the alphabet. 10 is also a basis of the decimal system. Decimal is an anagram of medical.

What! They're going to shut Ysbytty Gwynedd!!!

Ohh myyy Goooood, what will we do. Will no one think of the children!!!

Anonymous said...

Over Valley the Hawks are gathering most of the days of the week. Sometimes they go to Mona.

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...


As you are aware there appeared to be a certain amount of gerrymandering by Anglesey Council with regard to "Affordable Cost Guidance Index" thus allowing the Council to capture it's quota of affordables from developers and then manipulate the ACG's the following year.

Some developers have been put in an impossible position with regard to selling affordable houses because banks will not lend on them. Some people reading this might scoff but developers are sourcing materials locally and labour so actually developers help in the local circular flow of income and well as providing homes.

No surprise some developers are not taking any risks when it's all downside and no upside potential.

The housebuilding sector always leads the UK out of recession but given the state of Anglesey Plc this could be delayed further...

Anonymous said...

I just read the above note and I think GPJ is absolutely right. Anglesey can build more houses but the planners and politicians have to make life easier for the developers risk and you've got to admire these guys. Why not work with the developer housebuilders rather than cause them problems.

People have to realise more new housing releases older stock. Free flow of housing is better than a stagnant downward market.

Nemesis said...

Talk is cheap, money buys houses.

Where have we heard this from?

Rest assured, the existing crop of politicians are all talk and no action. No wonder why were in a mess in Anglesey.

If there had been any action, they would have brought companies to the island and there would be work for everyone.

No point criticising anyone except Wynn Jones the contrite deputy leader and the other useless shelf-stacker Alber Owen MP.

When money was cheap and aplenty
it was squandered.

You vote for idiots, what do you expect

Roland Deitling said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Stating the obvious....private developers will not take risk without an adequate return on borrowing/investment.
There is nothing to induce developers to build affordable houses at a discount for those in need.
As was said earlier, we must accept a 2-tier housing market.
There is a fairly adequate exception site policy for AH...the problem is who is to finance the land, building and services ?
Let it be housing associations, the council, cooperatives, or the landowners.
But there must be a return and there must be an acceptance by those who get on the AH ladder that they can't have it both ways...they must not expect to make a profit at the expense of subsequent buyers of the AH.

The Red Flag said...

Stating the obvious....private developers will not take risk without an adequate return on borrowing/investment. There is nothing to induce developers to build affordable houses at a discount for those in need.

Small thinking. Who says it has to be developers who do this? Local, Regional or National governmet cut easily cut out the developers and contract the building straight to the construction companies and pay them to do it the same as they would a road, bridge etc.

Anonymous said...

11.37 You have a valid point.
What is to prevent a local authority from commencing a programme of affordable house-building.
Finance perhaps ?
It would most probably have to apply its compulsory purchase powers also, if a landowner was reluctant (as may be likely)to sell land at less than market value...which is what AH policies are all about.
Not only must the house be affordable by reference to a local average wage-earning formula,and progressive index, the underlying land must be as well.
In practice, landowners are reluctant to accept this.
So you are right, if private developers won't accept risk without a 15-20% return (normal) it must be a public sector initiative.

the outsider said...

the exception site idea is based on the presumption that there are two market values, one for land that can reasonably expect to get planning permission in the near future and one for agricultural or amenity value. These are very different, with the average agricultural value being around £8,000 per acre just now. The idea was to tempt landowners to accept a better price than that for land which had no short or medium term prospect of gaining planning permission. Even at £100,000 per acre, with a density of 10 houses that gives each plot a value of £10,000. Infrastructure and service costs will depend on the considered selection of the site.

Welsh Ramblings said...

"What is to prevent a local authority from commencing a programme of affordable house-building.
Finance perhaps ?"

Finance definitely- the current struggle for local authorities is maintaining their existing stock (hence stock transfer)- building new ones on any large scale is a fantasy (for local authorities).

Local authorities were completely emasculated by Thatcher who took away their ability to do constructive things. In fairness, Labour were happy to inherit her legacy without changing any of it.

The current Thatcherite Treasury rules on housing were left unchanged by Blair and Brown. Changing them would mean an acceptance that the state rather than the property market should play a role in the provision of housing- something politically unfashionable in London (though not in Wales).

Anonymous said...

Picking up on a point:

After the WWII my grandmothers land in Tremadoc was CPO's by The Council to carry out an urgent Council housing scheme. The land stood empty after acquisition for more than 20 years so the motive was to disposess my Grandmother of valuable land. These days it would not happen.

Compulsory Purchase Order Powers are only applicable in certain circumstances. Acquiring land from those with land "in the right places" in order to facilitate housing is not correct use of CPO powers.

Assisting a developer to assemble land for a scheme which would be in the public good is good use of CPO powers. For example, the buying in of a run-down area.

Some people here think profit is a dirty word but profit leads to reinvestment.

Don't mistake developers for bankers!

Anonymous said...

14.25 Actually, CPO powers are readily available to local authorities and government by several enabling Acts, for any public purpose including the provision of housing. It is subject to compensation on an open market value basis.

Photon said...

I'm often not in agreement with Paul on many of these Tory policies, and I am not sure that I can support anyone at all who dismisses history as irrelevant or does not wish to discuss it.

But, it's also right I say that Paul is being quite brave and tolerant in allowing this discussion to follow-through to a conclusion. In that regard, he still has my full respect and support. But quite what the local party establishment will make of it is another thing...

The Red Flag said...

But quite what the local party establishment will make of it is another thing...

Interesting thiught. If the local party is of the 'Cameron' vsariety then it will be against more then the absolute bear minimum of social housing for rent.

If however they are 'traditionalist' then they will be all for major social housing projects. The traditional tories always out-built Labour in the council house area and in fact under Major and Thatcher built more than Blair and Brown.

Bizarre when you think about it.

kp said...

The last thing Anglesey needs is more houses, affordable or otherwise. This is an island suited to farming and fishing, tourism and leisure, well being and retirement.

If you can't afford to live here, move. And if your kids can't afford to live here then they should move too. It's what normal people do!

Attempts to socially engineer a better Anglesey always result in failure, just take a look at Llangefni, Amlwch and Holyhead.

Anonymous said...

kp said....

How utterly pathetic. What a stupid small-minded position. Do you understand what impact that would have on the local economy? Who would crew the ferries? Who would stack the shops shelves? Who would provide the farm labour?

Photon said...

Kp, a very naive view. Given that most youngsters in most areas are unable to afford housing in their area, your argument would see a mass exodus from the entire country.

This is not a retirement home, nor do we want anyone who looks at the place through fixed-view glasses. What we want is considered, suitable and quality development - and maybe fewer retirees who don't want their retirement island to change!

Richard Sletzer said...

We've all been scratching our heads to explain the reasons for Anglesey's myriad problems in housing, employment and economic prospects. Many contributors here have already hit several nails on the head - but perhaps I can suggest another potential factor which has to far not been raised.

Since before WW2 bright young people have had to leave the island to pursue careers elsewhere because there just weren't (and certainly aren't now) any well-paid jobs in Anglesey (other than those in the public sector).

Yet, of course, it's those same young, able people who took a one way trip across Menai Bridge, who could - and should - have been starting new businesses on the island and generating wealth and employment for everyone.

The island's prevailing socialist and Welsh Nationalist politics have actually driven them out and failed to attract them back. No policy has been more ruinous in this regard than in education.

Anglesey was the first local authority in Wales to bring in compulsory comprehensive education. The forced abolition of island's high-achieving and very well-regarded grammar schools in the early '50s was nothing short of a political crime. It precipitated a steepening decline in educational standards on the island.

Anyone who wanted to get on, knew they had no option but to get out - there no future for them in Anglesey - and there would be no future either for their children.

This continual erosion of bright and able people has resulted in a smaller and smaller pool of young talented people left on the island and this has now come home to roost in the abysmal quality of the current crop of county councillors.

If the island really is getting back to basics and constructing a plan to revive the island that plan needs to start with the schools.

Anonymous said...

KP, Is the "p" for Plonker?

As a local I am deeply insulted by KP's comments and he / she ought to be expunged from the website.

I think if locals knew PK's identity then KP might be better off making a sharp exit.

Anonymous said... arrogant, financially secure fatcat in-migrant, who does not belong, for sure?

Prometheuswrites said...

Richard Seltzer: I agree that reconstruction needs to have good education and health as fundamental building blocks.

However these are mid-long term strategies.

Getting numbers of SME's who are 'making things to sell' outside the island would be the place to start in reviving the economic side of things.

Big corporations will only take profits off the island. Yes the workers get a wage, but there's a profit loss to the island.

Same goes for the UK.
Making £8M worth of railway carriages is a start but it will reap real reward if we can make and sell them to other countries too.

Photon said...

"And the ECHR is an EU matter? Really? "

You're right to highlight the difference between the Council of Europe and the EU, but let's look at it the detail of this specific matter:

The Council of Europe has 47 member states, the EU 27. All 27 EU members are also members of the Council of Europe, and so all have signed the ECHR, but the EU as an organisation, becauseas it didn't have the legal 'right', has not (yet - see below). Which leaves a typically EU-esque hotchpotch of individual EU members being signatories, whilst the EU itself is not (yet)!

Then you have the fact that EU members are bound by the (EU) treaty of Nice (article 6) dealing with human rights as granted by the ECHR. And lastly, the Treaty of Lisbon means the EU is expected to accede to the ECHR.

So, on the (very) strict interpretation of the way in which the various European orgnisations work, yes, you're right to pick me up. But that rather ignores the realpolitik of the way these things are applied, and how integration is always moving ahead.

Anonymous said...

Personally I couldn't give a fcuk about the fine differences between EU etc.
The only realpolitik about the Human Rights Act as used in this country is that many many lawyers are extremely rich since Mr Cherie Blair introduced it. Also,many many out and out criminals are laughing their bollocks off at the likes of you and me whilst these cnuts are getting rich.

Oh, and some joskin thickoes get to (wrongly)invoke it on blogs in a feeble attempt to score a point and settle some personal scores/agendas.

Photon said...


Ever thought of putting yourself forward as a UKIP candidate?

Anonymous said...

What for? I find it hard enough living with the fact that I support (insert name of your most hated party)!

I'm not necessarily against Europe. Just this criminals

On another matter I have just scoured the latest Wikileaks to find out what the yanks think of our quite obviously corrupt administaration here on the IoA. Amazingly there was F all!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do you think we have a corrupt administration? We have the administration that we deserve.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 11.28. Reading some of the comments here you'd think they were the worst administrators ever. Helped out by a 'commie' at a cost of £1.5 million no less. The yanks surely would have a view?My attempt at sarcastic humour clearly didn't work.

TGC said...

"just scoured the latest Wikileaks to find out what the yanks think of our quite obviously corrupt administaration here on the IoA. Amazingly there was F all!!!"

Oh well. At least the Soviets used to give us (the wrong) attention - Wylfa was (and may even still be) on their ballistic nuclear missile target list. Thank God Stanislav Petrov ignored the launch warning in 1983 (I once asked IWJ to get the Assembly to give him an award, but nothing happened. How novel of him).

Prometheuswrites said...

"Thank God Stanislav Petrov ignored the launch warning in 1983"

Yes - One of the unsung heros of humanity.

Thank God he didn't 'just follow orders'.

Anonymous said...

Burn Baby Burn

Rhiannon said...

When I first came to work on the island (in the early 1980s), there was plenty of affordable private rental available, especially in the winter months, even for those on low wages.
Five years ago, it was almost impossible to find any such - and, when you did, the landlord was invariably under huge pressure from authorities and tenants alike, to upgrade the accommodation - thus rendering it unaffordable for many
It's marvellous now to see the ruined houses of the 1980s being roofed and rebuilt - but who, starting out in working life, can possibly afford the cost of them?