Stamford, Cotswolds of the North?
Stamford in Lincolnshire has been referred to as the Cotswolds of the North. Its pale limestone facades and elegant Georgian streets made it the Sunday Times best place to live in 2018. It has over 600 listed buildings including five medieval churches and being a short drive away from 45 minute trains to London, it is now quickly becoming the relocation choice for many moving out of the City.
This is all well and good for local business, tourism as well as the local branch of Waitrose, but many locals are being unceremoniously pushed out of the town they grew up in. The average house price of £350,000 is a whopping 16 times the average salary in the area; recently some new build 3 bed homes went on the market for over £600,000 - a staggering price outside of the south-east.
It is a similar story in nearby towns and villages, and with the area being well connected North-South by the A1 and the East-Coast Mainline, South Kesteven District Council’s ambitious plans for growth rightly include plans for 14,000 new homes. At a recent event InvestSK (the Council’s economic growth and regeneration company) highlighted the significant difference in earnings between those who live in the area but commute out to work, and those who lived and work in the district.
It is clear therefore that many of these new homes have a pressing need to be genuinely affordable for those in the education and healthcare sectors or in the many manufacturing or agricultural jobs typical of South Lincolnshire.
The creation of new affordable housing (whether for rent or purchase) is sometimes feared – particularly by those living nearby to the proposed development. Rumours can abound of anti-social behaviour, drug dealers and worse, but if we look at earnings to house price ratios and the projected population increases in the area, affordable housing is needed by what many (if a YIMBY attitude prevailed) would perceive as normal hard-working families.
This situation is not unique to the open fields of Lincolnshire, but rural housing exclusion should not be ignored in the heat of the debate about housing crises in our cities and large towns.
Laura Woollard - Account Manager