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Concerns over affordable housing in York

tracey simpson laing

12:01am 17th September 2011

Affordable housing in York may be little more than a pipe dream in future, following funding cuts and planned changes to the planning system, a leading councillor has warned.

Coun. Tracey Simpson-Laing was responding to the Government's draft New Planning Framework, which it says is designed to give power to local communities to shape their own areas.

But, Coun. Simpson-Laing says:

"This sits in opposition to powers available through its localism agenda."

"There's nothing wrong with giving local authorities powers to set housing targets and other development targets as long as there are rules which ensure those targets are credible. 

"You can't just say - 'we want no more housing', as this just abandons the next generation and any affordable housing options young people may have in the future.

"Yet through the Localism Bill, there will be the power for local people to oppose and stop development. This is a huge contradiction, and will backfire spectacularly on the Government in the years to come, when housing supply is already a real problem".

Government guidance suggests that there should be a 3% vacancy factor across all types of housing, to maintain a healthy market. 

Lower than this, and prices are forced up, says Coun. Simpson-Laing:

"In York our vacancy factor is 1.8%, and 0.5% for long-term empty properties. 

"This provides one explanation for why living here is expensive, and why increased affordable housing through new development is absolutely essential.

"Where will our schoolchildren live in the future, particularly when demand on housing due to York's population growth will only increase in the years ahead?".

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