Swindon Council Leader opposes planning changes

Smaller developments boosted by raised ‘affordable homes' threshold.

House builders have defended proposed planning changes allowing up to 40 to 50 homes to be built before an ‘affordable homes' quota kicks in.

Last week the Local Government Association (LGA) criticized the government for the proposals, which it claimed would have resulted in 30,000 fewer homes being built over the last five years.

But the National Federation of Builders (NFB) said raising the limit from the current ten homes threshold to 40 or 50 would allow more small developers to build homes.

NFB housing and planning policy head Rico Wojtulewicz said: "Negotiations on affordable homes has meant that developments have been delayed by up to two years. If you raise the threshold for building affordable houses then more homes will be built throughout the country."

Mr Wojtulewicz added that first-time buyers' access to help-to-buy would still enable them to get onto the first rung of the property ladder even in hotspots like the South East.

Currently, developments of more than ten homes must have a 20 to 30 per cent ratio of affordable properties. Mr Wojtulewicz said this had acted as a deterrent for many smaller developers.

However, LGA housing spokesperson and Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said: "Proposals to exempt developers from having to build affordable housing on certain small sites are of huge concern. With rising housing waiting lists and record numbers in temporary accommodation, we desperately need to be building more affordable housing, not less."

“We need to build homes that are affordable to local people and help to reduce homelessness, rather than contributing additional funds to developers’ and landowners’ profits. These current proposals risk allowing developers to game the system by only putting forward schemes for fewer than 40 or 50 homes, and so avoid building any affordable homes at all.”

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