Home » Park housing policy is ‘’bonkers’’

Park housing policy is ‘’bonkers’’

PembsNPATHE AFFORDABLE housing policy in the National Park has been described as a ‘disaster’ by authority member Bob Kilmister 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 coming to a conclusion. They said: “The 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 that the authority was not as ‘flexible’ on considering affordable home contributions during the planning phase.
The policy, adapted from national policy which all parks 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 was in full support of the committee and said that they needed to be more innovative in the future.
“I congratulate the members of the PCNPA scrutiny committee who have examined this policy in considerable detail. I agree with their conclusions and I hope that that we can now start the task of replacing this failed policy.
“The economic situation over the last few years has contributed to its failure, but there is no doubt in my mind that it would have failed even if the economy had been booming.
“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.
“The principle of percentage targets and stealth taxing developers has simply seen the market shrink and reduced the numbers of affordable homes that can be provided. It has also had a very negative affect on employment within the construction industry. It has been a disaster.
“The fact that we don’t actually know the number of affordable homes we really need in each community is extremely worrying. The data we have is based on information prior to 2008 plus the housing waiting list.
“Many people who want housing are not on this list and others are on it for insurance purposes. Unless we can ascertain the accurate numbers required it is difficult to see us implementing an effective policy.”
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.