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Planning changes will drastically cut affordable homes in Gloucester, say Lib Dems

October 9, 2020 4:32 PM

Declan Wilson outside affordable homes in PodsmeadThere will be a drastic cut in the number of affordable homes being built in Gloucester if the Conservative Government presses ahead with changes to the planning system.

The Government is proposing to scrap the duty of developers to build affordable housing on sites for up to 40 or 50 homes.

It means that in Gloucester if the 50 homes threshold was adopted 111 fewer affordable homes built in the city over the next decade - a cut of 10% on current plans.

If the 40 homes threshold was adopted there would be 89 fewer homes built.

"Cutting the number of affordable homes being built in Gloucester will make it even harder for people on lower incomes to be able to afford their own home," said Councillor Declan Wilson, Liberal Democrat deputy group leader.

"If the Tories get their way home ownership will become the preserve of the wealthy, with younger people and the less well-off left at the mercy of the private rental sector.

"The average house price in Gloucester currently stands at £240,000, meaning owning a home is just a dream for many people.

"More affordable housing should be built in Gloucester - not less.

"Elect the Liberal Democrats to run the city council next year and we will set up a housing company to provide more affordable homes and properties for rent in the Gloucester."

Gloucester City Council has a policy adopted in the City Plan which means for any housing development with over 10 homes, 25% have to be affordable.

Over the next decade there are plans to build 4,235 homes on sites of 10 properties or more - meaning 1,059 affordable would be built.

But if the Government introduces a 40 home threshold then this figure falls to 3,945, of which 986 would be affordable.

If the threshold rises to 50 homes, then 3,790 homes would be eligible, of which 948 would be affordable.

Councillor Wilson said if the Conservative proposals were adopted developers would be able to "game" the planning system and only put forward smaller sized schemes.

"The danger is developers could either make multiple small submissions or split sites in order to stay under the affordable housing threshold," he said.

"The current draft of the Gloucester City Plan seeks to prevent this but we cannot be sure these safeguards will be strong enough."