Monday, 24 December 2012

Affordable homes policy in crisis

Wrecsam Council's affordable homes policy is in crisis.
 At the council's next planning committee, Bloor Homes, developers at the Gatewen housing estate, will propose that the proportion of affordable homes on the 236-house estate is reduced from 20% to just 5%.
 None will be for rent, they will all be 85% of the open market value with a housing association picking up the remaining 15%.
 We've reported on this development time and time again because they have consistently tried to undermine the affordable housing requirement - currently 25% under the local Unitary Development Plan.
 At a time when Cheshire West and Chester Council is aiming for 40% affordable housing in its new build, Wrecsam is opening the doors to developers who will be building more unaffordable housing estates.
Plaid councillor Arfon Jones said: "I think it's despicable that greedy developers are determined to undermine the democratic decision of Wrecsam Councillors by reducing the proportion of affordable homes on what is a massive housing estate to just 5%. If Cheshire West and Chester can include a figure of 40% affordability in their plans, then Wrecsam Planning Committee needs to get real and refuse this attempt to move the goalposts."
 Officers are recommending approval on the basis that the estate is not viable if they build 20% affordable housing. Councillors should insist on seeing the details of that viability study - if accepted it will set a precedent for every large housing developer to reduce its affordable housing quota to whatever it sees fit.

UPDATE: Bloor Homes is one of the UK's largest privately owned housing developers and its owner, John Bloor, was 12th in the Sunday Times Rich List for 2012. His fortune is estimated to be £480 million.

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