Pontefract homes plan approved despite 'affordable housing' concerns

Land off Stumpcross Lane, to the rear of Pontefract Road, will be developed
Land off Stumpcross Lane, to the rear of Pontefract Road, will be developed

Plans for 130 new homes 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 piece of land to the rear of Pontefract Road in the north of the town.

Coun David Jones

Coun David Jones

But the company has been accused of "avoiding responsibility" to provide affordable homes for 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.

Speaking at a 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, who was the only one out of 12 councillors to vote against the plans, replied: "I take all of that, but we need more affordable housing and you're avoiding that responsibility."