FEARS OVER CALL TO CUT SOCIAL HOUSING; Change to Planning Conditions 'Could Lead to Shortage of Affordable Homes'

Article excerpt

Byline: Les Reid

FEARS the government is set to relax requirements for developers to build affordable homes have raised alarm in Coventry.

Politicians, including senior councillors, say it would do nothing to tackle a chronic housing shortage. About 20,000 people and families are registered on Coventry's Homefinder waiting-list for a social home. Coventry City Council planners have for years tried to force private developers to make 25 per cent of any new housing development available to people at affordable prices.

A new housing target of 11,400 new homes by 2028 - proposed in the council's draft "core strategy" - would include a higher requirement that developers make 35 per cent of new homes affordable in better-off parts of the city - where there is currently less social housing.

But the government is facing renewed calls to scrap the rules which oblige councils to set affordable housing requirements as a condition of granting planning permission to developers.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles believes the requirements - written into socalled CONCERN: Kevin Maton Section 106 agreements - are discouraging private sector housebuilding, amid a national slowdown since the credit crunch and recession.

Coun He is now advising councils on how to re-negotiate existing section 106 a g r e e -ments. A l on g -awaited in d e -pendent review of the private rented sector is this week expected to recommend further relaxation of the rules. …