North Town Labour councillor Carolyne Culver has called for more affordable housing - up to 40% - on new developments in Rushmoor.
Coun Culver, who is from Aldershot, returned to the town in 2000 because she could no longer afford to rent in London. She says that now, aged 30, despite working as a press officer for a major charity in London, she is struggling to buy somewhere in Aldershot.
Even with her council allowances bringing her income up to £29,000 a year, she has been looking for over six months, but cannot find even a one bed flat in Aldershot which she can afford. "Many of my friends are in a worse situation, earning less than I do," she said. "Housing policy should be dictated by the needs of people. I know people who are scrimping and scraping, doing two jobs a week, just to make ends meet. They haven't got a chance of buying a home."
She said that these days there should be homes provided which people could afford to rent "so that people can have a decent roof over their heads.
"Demand for social housing in Rushmoor is outstripping supply," she said. "According to the 2002 Rushmoor Council Housing Needs Survey, there is an annual shortfall of 727 housing units. Every year the council provides 100 new units, but this is almost cancelled out by the number of units lost under the Right to Buy policy introduced by the former Tory government." She said the growing gap between house prices/ rents and wages was having a devastating effect on the young. "The council must increase the proportion of affordable housing on new developments including the Boots site in North Town and former MoD land being released under Project Connaught."
She added that it was a fallacy that affordable housing would be used for asylum seekers. "In 2002 there were only 19 asylum seekers in Rushmoor, including five children, out of a population of 88,100. The young people of Rushmoor, struggling to make ends meet, should not be denied affordable housing because of the racism of a small but vocal minority."
She pointed out that since the mid 1990s, the cost of all types of housing had doubled in Rushmoor, and the jobs advertised in local papers did not pay enough to buy a one bed flat in Aldershot.
She added that she and her fellow ward councillors wanted North Town tenants to be given the opportunity to apply for transfer to the new properties when they are built. This would keep a sense of community in the area, she said.