Supporting the community of a coastal village, subject to a shoreline management plan, to move while utilising properties to provide social housing.
Who are we supporting?
We’re supporting Gwynedd Council with grant funding of £15,000 for Fairbourne: Moving Forward. This project is implementing a Shoreline Management Plan for the coastal village of Fairbourne, which cannot be saved from rising sea levels caused by climate change. In 37 years from 2017 (and based upon current scientific predictions) it will need to have decommissioned the village allowing it to be returned to the sea.
What’s the idea?
Establishing a Fairbourne community interest company (FCIC), which will buy homes from homeowners in the village allowing them to move from the area and reinstating a level of choice about moving away. Vacant homes will then be rented out (via local authorities, charities, groups, organisations) to disadvantaged members of society.
This project will be produced and refined in collaboration with the existing community in order to maintain its support with the integration of new incoming residents from vulnerable groups (such as older people, people with mobility requirements, ex-service people, families with young/vulnerable children).
These homes will be maintained by local tradesmen whose businesses have suffered due to villagers not undertaking home improvements to their homes, which have been devalued considerably, which will contribute to sustaining the economy in the area.
Furthermore, any profit from the FCIC will be used to reduce the level of borrowing the following year in addition to maintaining the non-statutory elements of the village, for example benches and planting, etc.
Why is this important?
House sales have been blighted by erroneous reporting in the media of the implementation of the Shoreline Management Plan. Many residents who own their homes outright want to move away from the village but are unable to sell their property. This is causing increased levels of poor mental health which will in turn, result in an increased burden on local health services.
This solution will have a positive impact on reducing the burden on social housing, allowing, for example, older people to live in semi-sheltered accommodation in a safe, crime-free environment.
How is it hoping to save money and improve services?
Residents selling their homes will be able to move away from the village and any associated mental health concerns may eventually diminish. The result of this will be that repeat prescriptions for relevant medication will eventually stop along with the need for any talking-based therapy currently being paid for by the local NHS board.
New tenants will be able to live in a friendly, socially-active village which is predominantly inhabited by people aged 55+. The village is very flat and should present very limited challenges to navigating the pedestrian network. By having a specialist one-stop-shop housing provider for vulnerable people, all specialist services will be joined up improving efficiency and reducing the number of meetings and liaison points.
It is hoped that cashable savings can be identified during the feasibility stage of the project. There is clear evidence that an older or disabled person, who is able to live on their own while being supported in the community presents better value for money than someone who is living in a care home as they do not have the support network to live independently.