NATIONAL park chiefs have expressed their disappointment after a report revealed that a scheme to help local people buy a home in Snowdonia had not attracted a single successful applicant in the six years it has been running.
The Snowdonia National Park’s Planning Committee heard that having set aside £100,000 towards the Homebuy Scheme in 2015, working with Grwp Cynefin Housing Association, not a single successful application had been lodged within the park area.
The scheme, administered by the Tai Teg affordable housing register, offers loans of up to 50% to help those with local connections and earning between £16,000 and £45,000 to obtain housing.
But despite noting that the reason for the lack of interest was “unclear,” the report speculated it could be down to personal or financial reasons where the applicants were unable to secure a mortgage.
However, it went on to note that at least some of the funds may soon be allocated.
“Tai Teg have informed that a current application has been assessed as meeting the requirements of the scheme.
“The paying of the loan is now dependent on the applicant finding a suitable property in the Harlech area.
“Given rising house prices, this loan could use a significant amount of the £100,000 available.
“There are also two other applications in reserve who may be suitable for the scheme.”
It added that a separate grant scheme helping to fund the renovation of empty properties by first time buyers in the Conwy council portion of the park had seen successful applicants obtain housing in Rowen, Betws y Coed and Trefriw, and that a further successful application in Dolwyddelan would use up most of the £100,000 that had been allocated for it.
Committee member, Brian Angell said, “There’s mention of a lack of clarity but it strikes me we have a general lack of clarity of the detail of the difficulties and approach of individuals looking for properties.
“Has there been any work done by us or others for the reasons why this and other schemes are not being taken up, if opportunities do exist?”
Geraint Evans, the park authority’s planning policy officer, acknowledged it was a “head scratcher.”
“We’ve talked to Tai Teg about this, some reasons have been offered but its hard to be certain as its down to the individuals if it’s appropriate for them.
“It was suggested that there’s more applicants and stock of affordable homes in urban areas and they still have to find a mortgage to fund the rest of the cost, but we need further talks with Tai Teg.”
The report concluded: “The Homebuy schemes continues to be marketed and a suitable applicant may received a grant in the near future.
“The first-time buyers grant with Conwy Council has been a success and majority of the funds allocated to the scheme has been spent.
“The authority will continue to work with partners to drive discussions to try and establish a partnership approach to support a community led housing officer in Eryri and work with partners and local communities to seek suitable initiates for the commuted sum fund.”
Conservatives’ Lack of Action on Obscene Energy Profits “Indefensible” says Welsh Lib Dems
New Audit Office Report on Poverty in Wales supports Plaid Cymru’s calls
Successful Operation targeting anti-social driving across Newport and Monmouthshire