HOUSING campaign group Shelter used Bournemouth beach to call for action by politicians to tackle the area’s “growing housing emergency”. 

Government figures show there are now 2,151 households on the social housing waiting list in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. 

However, since the last general election only 87 new social homes have been delivered across the local authority. 

The group said supply is outstripping demand, adding the lack of social homes is forcing families to live in “unsuitable and unstable” temporary accommodation. 

Bournemouth Echo: 2,151 sandcastles on Bournemouth beach

Shelter campaigners built hundreds of sandcastles to highlight the number ‘2,151’ across the iconic beach front. This represents the number of households on the social housing waiting list. 

Kate Parker, strategic lead for Shelter Dorset, said: “Every day through our services we see the effects that the critical lack of social homes has on our community here in Bournemouth. 

“Families are being forced to live in so called ‘temporary accommodation’ for months and years on end and mouldy, expensive, private rented homes.  

“People’s health is put at risk by living in these places, while children are failing at school because of the increased disruption. 

“We’ve had enough so we’re sending a clear message to Bournemouth’s MP candidates. Whoever ends up representing Bournemouth after the next election, they need to make sure they end Bournemouth’s housing emergency.” 

Bournemouth Echo: 2,151 sandcastles on Bournemouth beach

Ahead of the next general election, the organisation has put together a four-point plan outlining what people across England and the housing sector need from their future government. 

This includes building a new generation of social homes, making rent affordable, raising standards in social and privately rented homes and strengthening housing rights for tenants. 

There are now 579 children growing up in temporary accommodation in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole, according to the Department for Levelling Up. 

The number of homeless children has increased by 124 per cent in the last three years.  

Ahead of this year’s general election, Shelter is calling on all politicians from all political parties to commit to ending the housing emergency.  

The group is calling on the next government to build a new generation of social rented homes, increase rights and security for private renters, and to take action to end the soaring cost of rent.