COTSWOLD District Council’s leader has accused the BBC of failing to do basic research into a story about the relative cost of housing.
The BBC report stated that houses in the Cotswolds were the most expensive outside the southeast when compared to salaries, allegedly 19 times higher than the average wage.
Council leader Councillor Lynden Stowe claimed the BBC has neglected to do the necessary research and turned up misleading statistics as a result.
He added: “We are well aware that the cost of housing is higher here than the national average.
“The Cotswold district is a very attractive place to live and work - it is within commuting distance of London, offers an excellent range of shopping, good schools, and people aspire to live here. Market forces dictate that this will result in an increase in property prices and also rents.”
Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Cllr Sue Jepson said: “While we cannot deny that there is a big demand for housing in this district, which pushes up prices on the open market, the average earnings figure for Cotswold quoted by the BBC is questionable.”
She explained that according to the council’s research the mean wage for full time employees was over £25,000, not the £18,000 the BBC claimed.
Cllr Jepson added that as well as the attractiveness of the area, houses in the Cotswolds one third larger than larger than the national average.
Shortly after this response Cllr Paul Hodgkinson criticised the council, calling its leaders out of touch.
He said: “The fact is that this area has a huge and growing gulf between earnings and house prices.”
“Instead of concreting over the Water Park with thousands of holiday homes, CDC's bosses should be sorting out small scale developments of affordable homes in villages and towns which need them.
“For those aged under 40 in particular the Cotswolds is fast becoming off limits for housing – that is an intolerable situation.”
Cllr Jepson defended the Council’s record on affordable housing adding that the council was giving priority to those already living in the area and helping first time buyers through their Local Lend a Hand scheme.
She said: “Between 2011-12 and 2013-14, some 1,317 homes were built in the district and 556 of them were affordable. Our record on affordable housing provision is very good in comparison with many other local authorities and we are on course to continue this good performance.”