The big housing conundrum: Helping first-time buyers and protecting our greenbelt

First-time buyers have lost out after the Starter Homes scheme failed to get off the ground.

First-time buyers have lost out after the Starter Homes scheme failed to get off the ground. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A West of England plan for more than 100,000 homes to be built by 2036 may have suffered a setback, but it is clear the sight of housing developments springing up in North Somerset will not be unusual in the future.

North Somerset Council - along with counterparts in Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire - may be looking again at where homes will be built, but it is not expected the requirement to find areas to build on will reduce.

Weston's General Election candidates explain how enough places to build can be found, how they will help people get on to the property ladder and protect the district's countryside.

Tim Taylor - Labour

The housing system is broken and is stacked against younger people. It's more difficult for them to live independently due to high rents and for many, owning a home is an impossible dream.

Labour will empower councils to start building council houses again as part of a programme to increase the stock of social housing.

We'll ensure that builders include genuinely affordable housing in new developments and ensure new houses are well insulated and have solar panels.

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We'll also protect tenants with longer tenancies and consider rent controls as a way of making renting more affordable.

Patrick Keating - Liberal Democrats:

Everybody should be able to live in an affordable, secure home in a safe environment. Liberal Democrats would ensure hundreds of thousands of new homes are built across the country.

But we need to make sure we are building the right homes in the right place.

A Lib Dem government would ensure all new houses are zero-carbon standards by 2021. We would give local authorities powers to reject new developments that do not meet sustainability and climate change standards.

We will help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme and increase security for tenants.

John Penrose - Conservatives:

Housing is too expensive because, no matter who's in Government, we haven't built enough homes for 40 years.

Weston isn't immune, so we've got to build more. But they've got to be the right houses in the right places.

So I've opposed the 'garden village' near Churchill and proposed more greenbelt to protect countryside around villages.

But I've backed plans to build affordable, sustainable four and five-storey homes and apartments in central Weston, with the schools, GPs and play areas to create communities instead of dormitories, so people can live closer to work and commute less, and so we don't gobble up green fields.

Suneil Basu - Green Party

An English man's home may be his castle, but the UK's housing market has turned into a huge overpriced asset bubble.

Overpriced homes to buy and rent are one of the key economic problems in England. Price increases are pushing more and more people out of the chance of a decent home to live in.

We would restart the social housing programme developing quality sustainable housing, as well as repairing the underlying financial system that has inflated the prices to start with.

With a reduction in the cost of rents and housing, more money will be released into other parts of the economy. Regulations would change to ensure that new properties integrated renewable heating, insulation and solar power incorporated.