Portsmouth City Council draws up plan to hold developers to account over affordable housing

Kingston Prison
Kingston Prison
One of the pictures of dog mess taken by Shane Vine in Fratton

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  • Council passes motion to draw up SPD on ensure developers bring forward affordable housing in planning applications
  • Document would ensure economic viability assessments are made public when social housing does not meet targets
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AFFORDABLE housing is set to be prioritised in a new document being developed by the city council.

Following a debate at yesterday’s council meeting, councillors unanimously voted for a supplementary planning document (SPD) to be drawn up to encourage developers to put in place affordable housing in developments for the city.

We want to stop developers that are out to deceive people

Councillor Steve Pitt

It followed a motion put forward by Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Pitt following growing concern that residents were being ‘ripped off’ by developers not ensuring affordable housing was part of city developments.

Under the proposals, developers’ planning applications would be ‘fast-tracked’ if they contained 30 per cent of affordable housing.

Also, if applications did not meet the requirement for affordable housing, they would have to make an economic viability assessment (EVA) public.

EVAs are documents which are used to show the developer’s capabilities of building the homes and how much profit they could stand to make from the development.

Cllr Pitt said: ‘We want to stop developers that are out to deceive people. This issue needs to be addressed, the public need to know what is going on and things need to change.’

He pointed to the Kingston Prison development, revealing that developer City and Country would make £10m from the development, with none of the 230 homes set to be designated social housing.

His motion was supported by the authority’s Conservative leader, Councillor Donna Jones, who said: ‘This is a very sensible motion and we need to make sure that we are providing mixed and balanced communities in the city.

‘We need to make sure we do not put developers off, but make sure that we get affordable housing built in the city.’

While he supported the motion, fellow Tory councillor Steve Wemyss questioned whether the SPD could lead to developers taking their business elsewhere.

The council needs to build 840 homes every year.

He said: ‘I wonder if developers will come to us and say they cannot meet the social housing target and that they will say they will build somewhere else.’

Kimberly Barrett, founder of Keep Milton Green, said: ‘Portsmouth City Council needs to stop developers pleading poverty and ensure more affordable housing is built in the city.’