Policy described as 'bonkers' by one member
7:10pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
THE affordable housing policy in the National Park has ‘failed’ and is a ‘punitive tax on development’, some authority members said as the final scrutiny report on the scheme was received.
Members of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority considered a report from Scrutiny Committee chairman Ted Sangster which examined the affordable housing policy which included ambitious targets for the number of such dwellings to be built in the park by 2014.
The committee considered a large amount of evidence before reaching the conclusion that its “Local Development plan affordable housing policy is not fully achieving its key outcome in terms of the number of affordable homes anticipated as being built or under construction by the end of the financial year 2014/15. The evidence shows that the delivery of affordable housing is currently falling short of the authority’s target.”
A number of reasons were considered for the failing, including the economic situation as well as a perception the authority was not as ‘flexible’ on considering affordable home contributions during the planning phase.
The policy, adapted from national policy which all parks and planning authorities had to incorporate, sought to negotiate a minimum of 50% affordable housing as part of developments of two or more dwellings with a contribution element attached to the development on one building.
Authority member David Ellis said: "This is quite clearly a failed policy.
"I can’t think of a better way to put off developers than a punitive tax on his efforts. Even a single dwelling is being charged £250 a square metre, it’s a punitive tax and bound to put off anybody building or developing.”
There are currently permissions in place for 35 affordable dwellings and three contributions, of £250 per square metre, have been received since the policy came in on October 1 2011.
Authority member and county councillor Bob Kilmister said that the actual need for affordable housing within the park needed to be identified urgently.
“The idea of a percentage of affordable housing in the Local Development Plan is bonkers and it doesn’t work. We need to be more innovative about what we do.
“Economics at the moment are poor and they explain the fact that we haven’t hit some of the targets but I’m saying if the economy had been booming we wouldn’t have hit these targets,” he added.
Members agreed that the policy would be re-examined as part of the Local Development Plan review and more effort would be made to engage with developers and promote the flexibility of the park be made.