Housing is a fundamental right
Around 15,000 houses need to be built in Fryslân in the coming years, to support so-called autonomous growth - the growth of the existing population. We see that the Frisian population in general is ageing, but we also see that especially younger people are finding it hard to find a place to call home. House prices have gone through the roof, the housing market is under pressure, and the fiscal system also affects the availability of affordable housing. In 2021, the FNP introduced its Housing Plan (Oanfalsplan Wenjen). In this plan, we indicate that people who have social-economic ties with an area should be given priority, that the proliferation of holiday homes has to be stopped and that opportunities to keep new housing affordable have to be examined. Young people in Fryslân deserve our support. At the moment, our local divisions are working hard on getting the plan implemented in the various municipalities. For the FNP, the Housing Plan primarily means that we want to build affordable housing where the local communities are asking for it.
No large-scale housing projects
Our Housing Plan is also leading on a provincial level. There are parties who want to build up to 60,000 houses in Fryslân, mainly in the south-east of the province. These are the numbers we hear and read in relation to the so-called Delta Plan for the North (Deltaplan voor het Noorden). The FNP is against this delta plan, as we feel it would be detrimental at a social and economic level, and destroy the unique scale and character of Fryslân, with its 11 cities, regional communal centres, and more than 400 villages.
In collaboration with the Frisian municipalities, we want to develop a plan giving all villages and towns in Fryslân the opportunity to add housing in a way that suits their nature, scale and character. By building houses according to that plan, the existing structure can be retained, while allowing people to return home and follow their heart. For some towns, that would mean building at most 5 houses, while transition zones such as the railway station area in Leeuwarden would provide room for a lot more housing. It is up to the municipalities to take the next step. They know what the local wishes and requirements of their community are. The FNP prefers ‘inpansion' above expansion. We are and remain very critical of housing plans in rural areas, including the realisation of (expensive) holiday colonies. Cities like Hylpen/Hindeloopen, Starum/Staveren and Sleat/Sloten are already suffering due to the large number of second homes. Housing is a fundamental right.
We know that people are staying and want to remain living in their own home for longer. This is also one of the basic principles of our social care system. Demographic ageing is a development that has to be taken into account when realising housing projects. Even though, in principle, the Province cannot decide on the type of housing to be built, they are one of the parties at the table, with municipalities and other parties that decide on housing projects. We want to introduce a booster fund to further develop the Frisian concept of courtyard housing (hofkes). This allows for the concentration of (social) care services and makes optimal use of the strengths of the community, enabling people in the countryside to continue living in their own surroundings. An additional advantage of that system is that it promotes people that have to move to a smaller dwelling to move locally, creating room for young people and families that need bigger houses. Most of those houses are already there.
Access to quality healthcare is also essential to ensure that people can continue to stay in the area where they have lived all their lives. This means that availability in the region of basic services such as acute care has to be supported. Not only because of the medical risks and discomfort of long travel times to hospitals, but also to ensure better and efficient healthcare, that is in line with what the community needs and adds to what the community can provide for itself.