Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Time to stop "a coach and horses" being driven through affordable homes policy

My political stalkers will know that I have had issues with the recent decision to lower the affordable housing levels on the development at part of the Prudhoe Hospital site (see my letter to the Courant here). I am principally concerned not with the councils handling of the decision, which was correct, but of the fact that developers who buy land at high prices and who then see that land drop in value can just recover their losses by reducing the affordable level of housing. The "economic viability" test is perfectly normal elsewhere but has never been seen (to my knowledge) in Tynedale.

We have precious few sites suitable for housing and it's deeply disappoint when such a low number of them go towards solving the affordable housing crisis here. There are thousands of families and vulnerable people who can't afford market prices and need a help. I have met with the portfolio holder in Northumberland, Tom Brechany, and he agrees that we need to feed in our views to the government. Fingers crossed that they listen.

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