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Gary Lineker says government could learn from Michael Eavis’s Glastonbury social housing project

Lineker joined Eavis to sign off new affordable social rent homes in Pilton and said the Glastonbury Festival founder’s project shows the way to tackle the housing crisis

Gary Lineker joins Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and family to mark the social homes project

Gary Lineker planted a tree alongside the Eavis family to leave his mark on the site where 52 social homes have been built. Image: Jason Bryant

Gary Lineker has praised Michael Eavis for building social homes near the Glastonbury Festival site to help locals struggling to keep up with rising rents.

The Match of the Day presenter joined Eavis and his family in Pilton, Somerset, on Thursday to celebrate the completion of a further 20 social rent homes.

Eavis donated the land to the housebuilding firm the Guinness Partnership on the condition that it would be used for affordable homes to serve the local community in perpetuity. The project is now complete with a total of 52 houses, bungalows and flats on the Maggie’s Farm site.

And it has impressed Lineker, who said government ministers should be taking note as they look to tackle the long-running housing crisis.

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“I think housing is a big issue in the country at the moment,” Lineker told The Guardian. “At the moment we’ve got real housing issues around the country and rents are going through the roof. We all see a lot of homeless people but we’re also talking about people with good and important jobs – like teachers. Rents are soaring and they can’t afford them.

“Here rents will stay low. Nobody is going to be able to sell their properties. It’s such a great initiative that if it was to be copied everywhere else it would make such a difference.”

Gary Lineker joins Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and family to mark the social homes project
Lineker said Michael Eavis’s social housing project could be a lesson to others who are looking to tackle the housing crisis. Image: Jason Bryant

He added: “But the government needs to do their bit. The housing crisis is going to be [a] big issue going ahead whoever’s in power. They could learn a lot from this.”

Lineker is not the first celebrity guest to open homes on the site, which is near Glastonbury. King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, opened the first wave of houses in 2010 while David Beckham also visited in 2017.

Fellow former footballer Lineker planted a tree with the Eavis family on Thursday to open the latest completed homes.

The homes will remain as social rent – the most affordable tenure of housing – to keep residents protected from record high rents in the private rented sector.

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Each property is built using local natural stone for cladding and equipped with air source heat pumps.

Eavis, a dairy farmer who has operated Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm since 1970, said the project is an even bigger achievement than bringing big-name headliners to the famous Pyramid Stage.

Eavis said: “Pilton is really important to me – it’s where I was born, where I have lived man and boy, where I have brought up my family, and, of course, it has been home to the festival for more than 50 years now. 

“With rural house prices so often out of reach for local people, these houses give villagers, most of whom are working families who live around here, the opportunity to live here for the rest of their lives at a social rent. Of all the things I’ve done in my life this is the one I’m most proud of.”

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