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Fifth Of Households Suffer From Fuel Poverty, Survey Shows

FUEL POVERTY WALESA recent survey has discovered that around 1/5 of Aberystwyth househols live in fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty is defined as a household which cannot be kept warm at a reasonable cost (10% or more of household income).

The local Citizens Advice Bureau has told of how many local peoples’ fuel bills can reach highs of £40 – £50 per week.

This has prompted the council to put in a funding bid for half a million pounds to the Welsh Assembly, in order to create an Aberystwyth Renewal Area.

Renewal Area schemes are already well underway in other areas of Mid Wales, including Tregaron and Cardigan, which have both benefitted from the funding since 2004.

Should the council’s bid be successful it would bring in much needed cash to regenerate housing in the main areas of the town centre, such as Bridge Street and Marine Terrace. The Welsh Assembly Grant would provide £1 million per year until 2018, in order to give the council enough time to complete the project.

The council has blamed the high concentration of vacant properties within the town centre areas for the decline in housing standards, stating that landlords are less inclined to improve the standard of their properties when there are fewer tennants and therefore lower rent yields. The decline in standards also has an effect on the external appearance of the building, creating a poor impression on the many visitors to the town each year.

Other factors which have contributed to this problem include the age of the majority of town centre housing stock, which have been built pre 1920′s and therefore do not conform with more modern building regulations. An ageing population, and high levels of student accommodation have also compounded the problem, as many town centre residents now lack the required income to adequately heat their homes, or bring them up to a more energy efficient standard.

However, with around 26% of Welsh homes falling victim to fuel poverty, Aberystwyth sits below the national average at just above 21%.

Other interesting research has also shown that almost 19% of the town’s housing stock poses a high risk to health, either through injury or illnesses related to poor housing conditions. However, even though the rate of fuel poverty leaves 1 in 5 households affected, only approximately 6% of homes in the town were rated as too cold when compared with national Housing Health and Safety guidelines.

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