Published On: Sat, Jan 27th, 2024

French holiday hotspot loved by tourists under threat | World | News

One French city beloved by British holidaymakers faces disaster as fresh talks of a poverty crisis emerges, with 40,000 houses left empty. 

Nice, in southern France, is reportedly facing a housing crunch, and councils are making efforts to repossess abandoned lots with the intent to renovate and resell. 

Current estimates place the number of vacant properties in the Nice area at over 41,000, amounting to nearly 10 per cent of all apartments. 

Local authorities have announced their intent to seize these abandoned properties, hoping to transform them into much-needed social housing stock. 

As workers battle the vicious housing market, struggling to find a place to live close to where they work, the Nice area has barely half the social housing required by law. 

Antony Borré, local figure responsible for housing and urban renewal, has said that urgent action needed to be taken, both to prevent poverty deepening and to stop the historic city decaying. 

He said: “I think this affair has gone on long enough, and I’m anxious to be able to respond to the housing crisis that we’re facing.

“We can no longer wait for the city’s heritage to deteriorate, for housing to be left to rot for years.”

A sense of crisis is imminent, say local activists, who have criticised the local authority for failing to step in earlier and deliver more affordable housing. 

It comes as reports point to the deep poverty imbued in the popular holiday destination, sharply contrasting with the glamorous expectations of its five-million-strong annual tourists.

Published by the Abbé Pierre Foundation last October, research suggests that one in five Nice residents live below the poverty line, largely thanks to difficulties with housing which they said was a “pressing” issue. 

According to the ABF, some neighbourhoods have poverty levels as high as 81%, more than quadruple the regional average. 

Crime in the city has also risen in line with depravation, as statistics from the French government shows. According to the Interior Ministry, lawbreaking in the area has risen by 28% in a single year.

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