LibDem peer calls for more affordable housing in Rugby - The Rugby Observer

LibDem peer calls for more affordable housing in Rugby

Andy Morris 18th Jan, 2018 Updated: 18th Jan, 2018   0

MORE affordable housing is needed in Rugby, say Liberal Democrat borough councillors after the issue was raised in the House of Lords.

LibDem Peer Baroness Diana Maddock used Rugby as an example of national housebuilding companies’ failure to include affordable houses in their schemes during a Lords debate.

She said: “The Rugby Gateway site has 1,000 houses planned with only 10 per cent of them being affordable. On the Rugby radio mast site, 6,000 houses are planned with only three per cent of them being affordable.

“It is quite clear that a major hurdle when building more homes is the structure of the housing market, which works mainly in the interests of the volume housebuilders.”

Coun Tim Douglas said more needed to be done to ensure homes were built for the people of Rugby.

He said: “Only 22 of the first 635 houses to be built in Houlton (the old mast site) will be affordable, and only 62 of the first 606 houses at Eden Park.

“According to Rugby Borough Council, 171 affordable houses need to be built each year – but each year building falls short of this target with only 51 affordable houses being built in 2015/16.

“Without proper consideration of costs and local needs we run the risk of building homes that are unaffordable and unsuitable. I welcome Baroness Maddock highlighting this issue in Parliament and Rugby Liberal Democrats are determined to work with the Council to ensure we get this right.”

In June, Rugby Liberal Democrats supported a Labour amendment to Rugby Borough Council’s (RBC) proposed Local Plan to increase the target for affordable housing.

RBC’s draft Local Plan, which is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, states: “Affordable housing should be provided on all sites of at least 0.36 hectares in size or capable of accommodating 11 dwelling units or more.

“On previously developed sites a target affordable housing provision of 20 per cent will be sought. On green field sites a target affordable housing provision of 30 per cent will be sought.”

RBC growth and investment spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “Providing sufficient affordable housing is an issue that can only be solved nationally.

“We have made it a priority to do all we can to deliver the range of housing necessary to meet the needs of local communities, which is why our draft Local Plan contains an ambitious target for affordable housing provision.

“We welcome the proposals in the Government’s Housing White Paper announced before Christmas, including the extra borrowing freedoms for local authorities, and we intend to continue to engage with Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on this and other issues.”

Representatives of property development and investment company Urban&Civic, which is leading the programme of house building at Houlton, has not responded to a request for comment.


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