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Housing Minister Says "Lots Of People Doing A Little" Can Help Solve Housing Crisis

Prince William announced plans over the weekend to build 24 homes on his estate in Cornwall (Alamy)

3 min read

Housing minister Lee Rowley has praised the Prince of Wales’s plans for the Duchy of Cornwall to fund a £3m innovative housing project in the south-west of England as an example of "lots of people doing a little" to address the housing crisis, and welcomes input from major landowners.

Prince William has detailed plans to work with the Cornish homelessness charity St Petrocs to build 24 homes on his estate in Nansledan, Newquay, for local people without anywhere to live. There are also plans for the Duchy to create a private rented scheme with longer-term tenancies for people on lower incomes in the area. 

The scheme will also include “wraparound support” such as job opportunities and training for residents, with development due to start in September and completion expected in autumn next year. 

The Duchy has also committed to building 400 social rented homes and 475 affordable dwellings on a new development in South East Faversham in Kent.

Rowley, who was appointed as housing minister for the second time in November – the 16th housing minister since 2010 – told PoliticsHome that he “welcomed” this intervention by the Prince of Wales and suggested that other major landowners could follow in his example.

“I certainly welcome major landowners looking at how they can help in some of the challenges of housing in different parts of the country,” he said.

“I think lots of people doing a little is often a very good way of trying to solve the problem over a longer period.”

He added that there are “challenges of significant stress”, particularly in some urban areas and “certain geographies” such as in Cornwall.

“It’s important we try and respond to that, so if landowners can do that, that’s very sensible,” Rowley continued.

“If the Duchy of Cornwall is willing to come forward and offer ways in which there are more affordable [homes], whether it's renting or buying, I think that that would be that sensible.

“At the same time, the government is paying £12bn pounds of taxpayers' money going into trying to provide more affordable homes. So I think Government is doing its part as well.”

According to homelessness charity Shelter, there are now 1.4m fewer households in social housing than there were in 1980, but more people are finding themselves on waiting lists for these homes. 2023 saw the highest number of households on the waiting list since 2014: 1.29m households in England, a 6 per cent increase on the year before.

Homelessness in England it at its highest rate in 20 years, with more than 100,000 households living in temporary accommodation. 

The government has said it is on track to deliver its target of building around 250,000 ‘affordable’ homes through the Affordable Homes Programme 2016-23, but the government’s Regulator of Social Housing has shown there has been a decrease of 225,102 'genuine' social rented homes since 2012.

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