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Somerset holiday hotspot Frome hit by housing crisis as residents forced out by soaring rents

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

A town in Somerset has officially declared a state of crisis within the housing sector in the area, as a result of rocketing rents.

Frome Town Council has made the declaration in a bid to draw attention to the situation in the town, with the average rent rising to around £1,500 a month. That’s the equivalent of half the typical salary of a Frome resident.

Frome becomes the third town in the UK to declare a housing crisis, following in the footsteps of Leicester and South Hams in Devon.

Councillor Polly Lamb put forward the declaration, and said: “Rents have skyrocketed and that is pushing out local people who have been here all their lives.”

Some of the blame for the situation in Frome has been put down to its regular appearances in studies pinpointing the best places to live in the UK. 

For example, it has been named the best place to live in the South West by The Sunday Times in 2021, on the back of its range of independent shops and vibrant local market. With significant numbers looking to leave cities off the back of the pandemic, there has been an influx into Frome, leading to locals being priced out.

No room in Frome?

Frome Council said it is lobbying Somerset Council to build more affordable homes in the area. With more than 600 families on the council’s housing waiting list, only 50 have been helped into new homes so far this year.

When South Hams declared a housing crisis, it followed this up by ratcheting up council tax on second homes.

Research earlier this year found that only a fifth of homeowners believe the government is tackling the housing crisis, while Homes England has blamed economic conditions for the poor levels of starts on new affordable homes.