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7th Jul, 2022

Future housing does not meet affordability needs

FUTURE developments are ignoring the need for affordable housing in the district.

So says Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Moorse who has criticised plans for the first 400 houses on the Long Marston Garden Village site, which he says do not meet the mix of housing proposed in Stratford District Council’s core strategy.

The core strategy – the planning blueprint for sustainable future development in the district up to 2031 – refers to affordable housing as either social housing, or housing of an affordable cost or rent.

According to the strategy, a housing mix should include 15 to 20 per cent of four and five bedroom houses, 35 to 40 per cent of three bedroom, with two bedroom houses – the sort many first time buyers purchase to get on the housing ladder – making up 35 to 40 per cent, and one bedroom properties meeting between five and ten per cent.

But plans for the settlement at Long Marston Airfield – part of a Government scheme to tackle the country’s severe shortage of housing – include double the amount of four and five bedrooms at 42 per cent, and just 20 per cent of two-bedroom houses.

Coun Moorse said: “Council policy is that normally 35 per cent of housing should be affordable. In this case, of 400 houses, 140 should be affordable, but the developers are proposing no affordable housing at all.”

The development is set to include up to 3,500 new homes, employment land, a village centre, community hub, new schools, open and green space and landscaping.

A report from development consultant Lichfields argues the housing mix reflects the character, landscape and balance of the surrounding area, and claims it does meet the recommendations in the core strategy ‘in the context of flexibility’.

The application – from developers Cala Homes – follows complaints from the Lib Dems surrounding a number of recent developments in Stratford which also fail to meet the housing mix.

Coun Moorse added: “Four recent applications in the town – either passed or pending – include just 14 per cent one or two bedroom dwellings, as opposed to the 40 to 50 per cent suggested in the core strategy.

“There is a major problem of affordability for many people in this district.

“They’re not able to buy the bigger, more expensive houses, so to get started they need smaller units and the core strategy recognised this in the housing mix it put forward.

“We must find ways to force developers to build to meet local housing needs, not just the houses that are most profitable for them.”

The council said it was unable to comment on the matter until it has been discussed by the Cabinet.

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