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Housing Policy Review Progress Report 2006 11 July 2006

The Housing Policy Review Progress Report 2006 was laid before Tynwald in July 2006 by the Minister for Local Government and the Environment, John Rimington MHK.

The Report builds on the recommendations of the 1999 Housing Policy Review and subsequent reports. It covers a wide range of issues relating to the provision, management and maintenance of affordable housing. Public Sector rented accommodation and First-Time Buyers’ housing are the main focus of the document, but the report also covers other housing issues such as the Empty Properties Initiative, the House Improvement and Energy Conservation Scheme, and supported housing needs.

Government continues to invest heavily in providing good quality affordable housing. A major programme of public sector refurbishment and redevelopment is currently underway across the Island. Good progress is now being made on several major schemes including Lezayre Estate, Ramsey, Janet’s Corner, Castletown and the Bretney, Jurby. In addition the housing redevelopment programme at Lower Pulrose has been successfully accelerated. Almost 900 public sector homes across the Island are scheduled to have been refurbished or redeveloped by the end of 2009.

The promotion of home-ownership through the provision of First-Time Buyers’ homes and grant support continues to generate interest. Over 300 Government ‘approved’ homes have been completed and sold to First-Time Buyers, and major schemes such as that at Johnny Watterson’s Lane in Douglas are now being progressed. There has also been a significant increase in the number of First-Time Buyers purchasing open market properties with Government grant assistance. In total, the House Purchase Assistance Scheme has already enabled over 700 first time buyers to acquire their own home.

This provision for both First-Time Buyers’ and public sector housing will be enhanced by the recent introduction of proposals from the All-Island Strategic Plan which make it compulsory for developers to provide a proportion, up to 25%, of ‘affordable’ housing on new housing developments.

Minister for Local Government and the Environment, John Rimington, said,

“I am delighted that despite initial delays on several schemes, due principally to planning and service infrastructure considerations, significant progress has been made – and continues to be made - by my Department towards the delivery of programmes for the provision, rebuilding, and planned maintenance of affordable homes”.

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