Monday, 6 August 2012

Gatewen housing developer tries to reduce affordable homes number

Back in March 2010, we reported  on plans to build 263 new homes on the former Gatewen colliery site just outside New Broughton.
 Plaid councillors on the planning committee at the time expressed concerns about the scale of the development, the impact on local services and infrastructure and the disappointingly low level of affordable housing - just 20% instead of the recommended 25%.
 The scheme was passed despite our opposition and now we see the developers coming back to the planning committee... to reduce the number of affordable houses even further.
 The argument is that the affordable houses aren't attracting buyers or renters. In the current economic climate this can mean just one thing - affordable housing isn't affordable for the bulk of local people.
 It's not clear from the lengthy letter of justification sent by the developer whether these were houses for rent or for purchase at a reduced rate, but it's apparent (as we've argued for some time) that the concept of "affordable housing" is fatally flawed if you have to find a £20,000 deposit to buy one.
 If you have that kind of spare cash, by definition you should not be eligible to apply for affordable housing. It's a Catch-22 situation that Joseph Heller would have approved of.
 It will be interesting to see whether the new planning authority stands up to the developer or whether it accepts the rationale that housing is there to make the maximum amount of money for large property developers and bugger the communities that have to put up with the added pressure over-sized estates like Gatewen put on roads, schools, health and social services.

1 comment:

Jac o' the North, said...

'Affordable Housing' means different things to different people. To the Housing Directorate it means social rented housing; to the Welsh Government it means low cost private housing. Further complicated by something described to me as "intermediate housing". (Explained here

Then there's the problem that many people seem to think that 'affordable housing' is somehow reserved for local buyers, or tenants - well it ain't. Making the field of 'affordable housing' a confusing mess, if not a deliberate con.