Sunday, 07 September 2014 22:13

MP slams 'threat' to affordable housing

Written by  Ruralcity Media
MP slams 'threat' to affordable housing

A RURAL MP has called on the government to drop a plan to limit new affordable homes being built in small communities.

Lib Dem MP Nick Harvey (North Devon) asked for a serious re-think on a proposal to remove Section 106 planning obligations from developments of 10 dwellings or fewer.

He made the plea in a letter to communities minister Penny Mordaunt.

Section 106 planning obligations aim to encourage house building by removing obstacles for small developers. A decision by ministers on the proposal is said to be imminent.

Mr Harvey said government figures had shown that two-thirds of homes in rural villages with fewer than 3000 people were delivered through the Section 106 agreement in 2012/13.

"Small rural communities across North Devon will really suffer if this proposal gets the go-ahead," he said.

"The average cost of a house in the area currently outstrips average annual wage 11 times over.

"Without the affordable housing that we so desperately need, families will either have to leave the area or risk falling into rural poverty."

Mr Harvey said it was all very well trying to give developers more flexibility and stimulate the housing market.

But the proposal had been |concocted in a Whitehall office without a thought to the impact on rural communities," he added.

"I am not against a minimum threshold, but the figure of 10 dwellings – which seems to have been plucked from thin air – is far too high."

Removing the obligation for developers to build affordable housing would "devastate" an area like North Devon where it is in such short supply, said Mr Harvey.

"We need action from the Government to increase the pool of affordable housing, not proposals to dry it up," he said.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Derrick Dyas)

    Report

    There is an additional adverse effect by the governments proposal.
    Some authorities allow off site provision or commuted sums when a S106 comes in to play. Monies received in this way can then be passed on to Rural RSLs as (additional) grant towards affordable housing on Rural Exception Sites which, normally, get no government funding.
    If the planning obligation is removed on sites of less than 10 dwellings, so could the funding that supports the Exception Site Policy which has been successful

    from Solihull, West Midlands, UK
  • Guest (alan whittaker)

    Report

    Its not just in Devon. In my part of rural Lancashire (Chorley) young families have to move to get a house ,and even more damaging is the fact that there is an embargo on older people who want to downsize if they have assets of more than £30K.Most older people in my part of the world own their own property and are automatically ruled out. Localism ?

  • Currently District Councils put in their local plan what 106 monies they think is reasonable, deciding according to local needs whether to seek contributions on small numbers of houses. This proposed rule would centralise control of a planning policy that better sits with the local council.

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