TOWN Hall chiefs are set to approve a new draft housing strategy for St Helens.

During its meeting on Wednesday, the Labour-run council’s cabinet will discuss the draft housing strategy for 2022-2027.

Members will be recommended to approve the document to pave the way for an eight-week public consultation.

The draft St Helens borough housing strategy – ‘Quality and Accessible Homes for All’ – has been produced to align with the borough strategy and to support the delivery of the housing priorities within the emerging Local Plan.

The housing strategy has been labelled as a "core supporting document" of the borough strategy, which sets the vision for the borough until 2030.

The draft housing strategy says St Helens currently has a population of 181,000 residents and 80,200 households – which is expected to "grow steadily" over the next 10-20 years, although at a lesser rate than that predicted for the north west.

Over the 10-year period from 2020-2030, there is a projected five per cent growth in the number of households, equating to 407 households per year.

The document confirms that, as of 2020, the households in St Helens totalled 80,153, with this projected to reach 84,219 in 2030.

But the document acknowledges there are significant health challenges for the borough population, as the health of the population is "not as good as it should be".

Life expectancy at birth for both males and females at 77.5 years and 81.0 years is significantly below national averages of 79.4 years, for males, and 83.1 years, for females – with "wide inequalities" in life expectancy across St Helens.

The document also says demand for social housing in St Helens is high, with 7,620 active applications on the UnderOneRoof housing allocations system, as of July 2021, with demand patterns indicating that the highest needs are for single bedroom accommodation, with 59 per cent of people on the waiting list as single or couple only applicants.

It adds: “Over recent years, newer models of affordable housing have been introduced, including shared ownership and rent to buy models, as well as the introduction of affordable rented housing.

“This diversification of tenure options has been popular and positive in the borough, with new build schemes reporting positive sales and feedback on demand for the area.”