New ‘affordable’ homes cost £220 per week

New homes in Hemel Hempstead have been slammed as not being 'affordable' for the average person.
New homes in Hemel Hempstead have been slammed as not being 'affordable' for the average person.

New homes marketed as ‘affordable’ to the people of Hemel Hempstead have been slammed as being out of reach for the average person.

Prices at the Park Lane development start at £133.85 per week for a one-bedroom flat rising to £221.54 per week for a three-bed home

Housing in Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead.

Housing in Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead.

Hightown Housing Association has allocated 70 homes for ‘affordable’ rent at the complex on the former Royal Mail depot site.

But mum-of-five Mel Davis said: “I’m appalled.

“It’s not affordable really, is it? You might as well have a mortgage.

“What have they got in them that makes them so 
wonderful? It’s nonsensical.

“They’re obviously looking for a certain type of person to take them.

“It’s not going to be for Joe Bloggs on benefits or tax credits.

“It just enrages me that affordable housing is now around £170 per week, we’re not in London.”

A Hightown Housing Association spokesman said the new builds are cheaper than what’s on offer through private rent.

She said: “An RICS accredited valuer has assessed the market value rent of each property and we let them out at 80 per cent of that market valuation.

“This is in line with the guidance of the government’s Homes & Communities Agency, as part of its Affordable Homes Programme.

“The most expensive home on the site has an initial rent of £221 per week including service charge, and this is for a brand new three bed family house.

“Rents on the site will then go down by one per cent each year until 2020.”

A one bedroom flat costs from £133.85 to £143.08 per week, while a two bed apartment costs £166.15 to £170.77 and a three bed house costs £221.54

The prices have been questioned by some living in Hemel Hempstead with residents describing it as too much on social media.

Mel, of Adeyfield, said: “Social housing is really for people on benefits and people on tax credits.

“When my mum moved out here - she is 93 now - the council promised there would be social housing for her children and her children’s children.

“I don’t get why they have to be that much money.

“My three older children couldn’t afford that and they’re all working. They have all got children and they couldn’t afford it. I just don’t think it’s fair.”

The housing association spokesman said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these modern and attractive homes for rent to local people, which will be cheaper than the privately rented market in the area.”

The complex also includes 15 shared ownership properties but these have not yet been valued.