Affordable homes target ‘hard to meet’

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FAREHAM may face difficulty getting the number of affordable homes in needs in the future, according to a construction firm.

Fareham-based company Low Carbon Construction Worldwide believes that developers that submit planning bids in accordance with the borough council’s draft local plan may attempt to avoid the required number of affordable homes.

The firm says that even if the council turns down an application for not providing sufficient affordable housing, the developer can still get the application approved by going through central government.

Author of Low Carbon Construction’s affordable housing strategy Simon Allso said that the developers need to rethink their strategy for the benefit of residents in the area.

He said: ‘The facts are quite clear – councils need to meet their housing quotas and so developers can very easily get planning permission from government, even if the council isn’t in favour of it.

‘Developers aim to reduce the number of planned affordable homes, because they simply don’t want to build them. Instead, they want to boost their profits.

‘Because of this, councils rarely meet their affordable housing target.’

The council’s draft local plan states that 30 per cent of construction should be affordable housing.

Leader of the council Cllr Sean Woodward says that he has faced this issue in the past – but that the existence of the draft local plan should be enough to prevent it.

He said: ‘Developers do try to squeeze down the number of affordable homes, because it costs them a fair amount of money to go.

‘What sometimes happens, if a planning application is rejected, is that developers go to the government inspectors and get permission that way.

‘If that happens the council loses all control, so we try not to lose any appeals.

‘Having a draft local plan in place will help us to resist any hostile applications.

‘We need to have a sufficient supply of areas that can be developed.’