LOCAL councillors are becoming increasingly worried of the impact of Hinkley Point C on the housing market as EDF are predicting a 400% projected increase in travelling workers for the project.
And Bridgwater Town Council have already been in talks with Sedgemoor District Council as they look to take pre-emptive measures to ease the situation.
The town’s chief negotiator, Cllr Leigh Redman (Labour, Hamp), said: “We need EDF, the money behind Hinkley C, to recognise the need to do more for the Bridgwater community if they want to increase the number of workers on site.
“I have said it before, but it needs repeating as the discussions go on to increase the number of HPC workers who will be living in the Bridgwater area.
“EDF are seeking an increase of 400% in travelling workers following the uplift and redistribution and Bridgwater will be disproportionately impacted by the proposal.
“Hinkley needs to step up and help local people find an affordable place to live. Yes, HPC has contributed to Bridgwater and the surrounding areas in many wonderful ways, with Sedgemoor helping create many more bed spaces, but the housing situation in our town is already hard and getting worse by the day.
“Young and not so young are now struggling to get on the property ladder and rentals are a bidding game – some estate agents are seeking sealed bids. There is a need to get in early if you are lucky, but the one thing that is for sure is there are currently not enough places to live in Bridgwater for the number looking, so money talks.”
“EDF, the main people behind the Hinkley C development, have made clear the size of the proposed increase. They are talking directly to district and county councils but not to our town council.
“The current number allowed on site as set out in the Development Consent Order (DCO) is 5,500 at peak – they propose to increase this to 8,600.
“HPC is on our doorstep. It is the biggest infrastructure development our county has ever seen, but as a consequence, is it right that there are many local people who can’t afford to rent locally and many that are struggling to get on the housing ladder as EDF are trying to steamroller this massive uplift with minimal consultation or debate?
No fixed rental price
“Is it right that estate agents don’t put a fixed price on rental properties? The new way is to tell prospective renters that ‘the estimated rental will be £???, What are you willing to pay?’
“In and around Bridgwater you are being asked to bid to rent a home. There is a shortage NOW. People are having to bid huge uplifts.
“Before people shout at me, I agree that is business, but is it fair that the high salaries of some limit the opportunities for others?
“I had a message from a young man the other day who he was at his wits end. He and his partner have a new born child, they live in a third floor flat, they do not claim any form of benefit. He has been looking for a place to rent that will not require his partner to carry the baby and pram up and down three flights of stairs. He wants a bit of grass for his child to play on.
“The first thing they check each morning and the last thing they check at night is the properties to rent in Bridgwater, their home town, but every time he sees a property, if it even makes it to an advert, there is often a list of more than 20 other people looking and the estate agent seeks the highest bidder for the rent.
“I am getting calls like this on a daily basis at the same time EDeF are asking for a massive increase in workforce, with Bridgwater taking the biggest hit.”
“The Stamp Duty reduction is adding to the already energetic local housing market, impacting on house prices at every level in Bridgwater – some homes are attracting bidding wars.
“Before the build started, following concerns raised by local councils, EDF agreed as part of the DCO to limit numbers in some areas, building accommodation blocks to support travelling workers.
“They now acknowledge that travelling workers want to live as near to site as possible. Accommodation blocks are full, with newly arriving staff having to seek local rooms.
“I am asking for them to take this seriously. With numbers on site already regularly passing 6,500, EDF need to put a plan in place before local people are impacted further.
“Come on EDF, please step up and acknowledge you are already impacting the Bridgwater housing market.
“If you want a massive increase in the number of your staff that will be living in Bridgwater during the build, please work closer with the town council and agree a strategy before you force more local people into overcrowded accommodation. Or worse still, force them out of the area.”