Plan to build 130 news homes in Pontefract given the go-ahead despite concerns

The Pontefract Road site.
The Pontefract Road site.

Plans for 130 new homes to be built in Pontefract have been given the go-ahead despite concerns about how many of them will be affordable.

Strata Homes are set to develop a large slice of land on Pontefract Road in the north of the town.

But the company has been accused of “avoiding responsibility” to local people, because of the prices attached to some of the properties.

Although council policy requires big developments to make nearly a third of their estates affordable, Strata says only 11 properties on the site can be classed as such because of costs unique to the site. An affordable home is defined by the government as one which is sold or let out at no more than 80 per cent of the average price.

At planning committee meeting, Pontefract South councillor David Jones said: “There is significant concern among residents in Pontefract about the lack of affordable homes.

“Looking at this I was hoping to see a good level of affordable housing. I feel an opportunity is being missed here.” Responding on behalf of Strata, Mike Ashworth said that the situation was unavoidable and that cheaper homes could be found elsewhere in the town.

He said: “We’ve been in negotiations with the council for quite a few months about this.

“We acknowledge that some changes in policy have come about while we’ve been negotiating. The reality is that there’s a lot of abnormal costs associated with this development that you won’t find on other sites.

“If the homes are valued at any less then we can’t move forward with the development.”

Coun Jones replied: “I take all of that, but we need more affordable housing and you’re avoiding that responsibility.”