Building for the future

Two Rivers Housing is currently investing over £30 million in building more than 300 homes at 14 locations.

The Newent-based affordable housing provider, which has more than 4,000 homes in Gloucestershire for low-cost rent or Shared Ownership, has committed to build a minimum of 100 properties every year, in a bid to tackle the local – and national – shortage.

The homes are spread throughout Gloucester, the Forest of Dean, Tewkesbury, Stroud and now the Cotswolds, which is a new area for Two Rivers, as it aims to make affordable living possible across the county.

With house prices in Gloucestershire keeping pace with the national average of £300,000*, and purchasers needing an income of £68,000* to qualify for an 80% mortgage, renting remains an important option for many people. The mean annual earnings for people living in the county is less than £28,500*.

Renting privately will set the average household back nearly £800* a month, therefore the only alternative for many people is to join the waiting for a lower-cost housing association or local authority home.

At the moment, there are 30,800* “˜affordable’ homes to rent in the county – 5,000* of which are in the Forest of Dean – but with demand outstripping supply, the investment in new homes by organisations such as Two Rivers is vital to the future prosperity of many rural communities.

“This is a beautiful part of the country to live and work, but we need to increase the number and choice of affordable properties available,” said Angharad Hodge, Development Manager at Two Rivers (pictured centre), marking the start of “˜Rural Housing Week‘ (1-5 July).

“This will help people to stay in the villages where they were brought up, and retain their connections with work, family and friends, thereby maintaining crucial social support networks. It will also sustain smaller, rural communities through school attendances, employment and trade for our shops, as well as leading to improvements in the wider infrastructure of transport networks and health services.

“There is a limit to the number of affordable homes being built in rural areas, and Two Rivers is helping to keep these communities alive by giving people that chance.”

Of the 14 locations where Two Rivers Housing is currently building, four of these are classed as “˜rural’: Standish, Staunton (Gloucester), Toddington and Willersey. The schemes offer a total of 46 homes for affordable rent or Shared Ownership.

Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (Community Action in Gloucestershire) provides independent advice and support to local communities on many issues. If you or your community are concerned about housing, or the lack of affordable housing and its impact on local people, you can contact them on 01452 528491 or look at their website – .

* All data from the National Housing Federation ‘Home Truths’ report.