West Somerset Labour Party is opposing a government proposal which it says would cut the number of affordable homes being built in rural areas. It says the plan to give more freedom to developers on small sites would leave local people struggling to find homes.
The Tory housing minister, Brandon Lewis, wants to remove what are called Section 106 obligations from sites of fewer than ten houses. It would mean the developer of a typical small site in a village would no longer be required to build at least some homes which local people can afford.
The West Somerset Labour chair, John Bryant, has written to the shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, to explain the concerns of the branch. John said:
“In West Somerset – and I expect elsewhere – for price reasons there is only a modest demand from local people for new open market dwellings. A large proportion of these are acquired by retirees and second home owners or for investment for holiday lettings.
“A large firm of estate agents were recently quoted as saying they had not sold an open market home on Exmoor to a local resident family for some years. Many sites (all in some villages) would be unable to provide for the construction of units in excess of nine.
“The shortage of suitable development land in villages, together with a high demand from people retiring from areas like London and the south east, results in prices way beyond the means of even middle-income local residents.
“The exodus of local families is extremely damaging to an area such as this. We believe developers should continue to be required to build homes within the price range of local people.”
John Bryant. Chair, West Somerset Labour Party. 01984 640421