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‘They can’t even afford a beach hut’: campaign to help locals buy in second home hotspot

PUBLISHED: 08:53 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:33 21 September 2020

Jack and Nicole are a young local couple who Homes for Wells hopes to benefit with their affordable housing. Picture: Homes for Wells

Jack and Nicole are a young local couple who Homes for Wells hopes to benefit with their affordable housing. Picture: Homes for Wells

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A community-led housing trust has launched a campaign to help rent homes to people priced out of a North Norfolk town by holiday lets and second homes.

David Fennell, chairman of Homes for Wells, which have launched a Crowdfunder to help buy two social housing flats in Wells-next-Sea. Picture: David FennellDavid Fennell, chairman of Homes for Wells, which have launched a Crowdfunder to help buy two social housing flats in Wells-next-Sea. Picture: David Fennell

Homes for Wells is trying to raise £100,000 towards the purchase of two social housing flats in Wells-next-Sea.

The flats, which are in the Northfields area of the town, will be for local key workers and people with a proven connection to the town such as the local lifeboat crew, fire service and healthcare providers.

The average property price in Wells, which has seen the percentage of second homes rise by 32pc in the last 20 years, is more than £548,000 while the average salary is £19.500.

Homes for Wells said this was unsustainable for the local community and meant people who worked in essential services in the town were unable to afford even a beach hut which average £70,000.

David Fennell, chairman of Homes for Wells, said: “Right now, not only are local people’s livelihoods under stress, their potential homes are also being threatened by a surge in interest and hike in property prices in recent months.

“Wells is a ‘staycation’ national holiday destination as well as second home hotspot.

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“Lockdown has created a mobile workforce that can work from home and want to live elsewhere. While everyone is welcome, this comes at a huge cost.”

Since it was launched in 2006, Homes for Wells has grown from having just £10 in the bank to a trust which houses 54 people.

The group has a waiting list of 42 families looking for accommodation and cannot afford to buy new properties without donations.

Among those on the waiting list are Jack and Nicole, a young local couple from Wells with a baby on the way. Despite both working second jobs, the couple cannot afford to buy their own home and private rental prices are out of their reach.

Mr Fennell said: “Every donation, whatever its size, is very welcome. We know how much people may be struggling financially at the moment so really appreciate any help that can be given.”

The Homes for Wells fundraiser can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/homes-for-wells


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