In March 2017, The Sunday Times named Bristol as the best city in the UK to live in, and it has also previously been said to be one the top ten places to live in the world.
Bristol, the economic hub of the South West is known for being a diverse and multicultural city, and is rated as the best city in the UK on several occasions and most recently by The Sunday Times. It is a small city that feels bigger than it is and it is a stones throw away from other cities such as Bath and Cardiff. It also has several breathtaking views and stunning architecture , so its no wonder it has been named the best city to live in on several occasions. According to independent research, 75% of people would disagree with The Sunday Times. Could this be because, Bristol is also suffering from a housing crisis and it is becoming unaffordable to live in for some when compared to other cities outside of London? It is also the worst city in the South West in terms of homelessness, can it truly be the best city in the UK to live in, especially when it has been also named the UK’s most ‘liveable’ city previously as well, but with a housing crisis how true is this?
Hometrack UK are the only organisation in the UK who track and analyse the housing market trends at city level. According to their latest report, Bristol is one of the least affordable cities in the UK with house price in Bristol is now £262,000 -a year on year increase of 8.0% against February 2016. To put it in comparison, London house prices only grew 5.6% in the same time period. The UK average was 6.0% and 6.4% for the Hometrack’s 20 city index.
Acorn Communities was founded in Easton, Bristol in 2014 by 100 local residents. It is an rganisation that campaign for fairer housing by what they call, fighting end – end to evictions, poor housing conditions and ‘rip-of’ tenancy fees. They currently now have offices in five cities across the country, including Bristol where they are based in the Communication Workers Union building in Lawrence Hill, which they share with the local Labour Party.
Their Bristol organiser, Nick Ballard believes that Bristol is becoming unaffordable for some due to the rising cost of housing in the city.
Nick also believes Bristol is a great place to live as its a multicultural and welcoming city with beautiful architecture and many things to get involved in. Despite this to the increasing housing issues, Nick says thousands of people are being prevented from taking part in the things that do make Bristol a great city
You can find Acorn’s offices at the Communication Worker’s Union on 20 Church Rd, Lawrence Hill, BS5 9JA.
Bristol City Council do currently have a strategy called ‘More than just a Roof.’ This will run until 2020 to tackle Bristol’s growing housing issues and sets out the City Council’s vision of how they will do this. They believe that much more needs to be done to improve not only the number of homes but the current housing stock as well. For example, according to the city council, 28% of homes in Bristol have a poor energy efficiency rating of E, F or G. As well as this, approximately the same amount of private homes fall below the decent homes standard. Therefore, apart from Bristol becoming unaffordable to live in, the strategy highlights the standard of homes are not higher enough. The city council will also build 7,100 new homes by 2019 (started in 2014), deliver the best for existing homes and also crack down on the number of empty private homes which have an effect on the housing market. They say this is to avoid a housing crisis, however for many people there is a housing crisis as they can longer afford to live in Bristol.
The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees’ commented s part of the strategy that: “my mission is to make sure the world sees a Bristol where every citizen is participating in our city’s success; and not a Bristol held back by the price of inequality.” This includes housing as the strategy states that Bristol should be a city that “supports everyone to reach their potential by creating successful places to live.
There is no doubt that Bristol is great city to live in, but with rising housing costs and people struggling to financially when compared to other cities such as Aberdeen and Liverpool which aren’t suffering from similar issues, does Bristol really live up as the best city to live in? It seems it does, however it is important to remember that many people are struggling to get by and might not always be having the ‘best’ of times.