A Sidmouth resident writes:
“The Prime Minister has said it is her a personal mission to mend our broken housing market and provide much-needed “affordable” housing, even though much of this is, for many, unaffordable.
We hope therefore that she will immediately address loopholes in the planning system that are regularly exploited by developers who avoid making a fair contribution to affordable housing, for example by claiming, after they have obtained planning permission, that such housing is financially unviable.
Developers who build retirement flats often claim these are “care Homes”, even though they provide no care themselves. In Sidmouth, for instance, PegasusLife is currently appealing a decision to refuse a multi-million pound development of 113 expensive retirement flats and exploiting an ambiguity in planning law as well as using a viability test to avoid paying an estimated £3 million towards affordable housing, housing money that cash-strapped Councils can ill afford to lose.
It is a myth that the country needs more houses: it doesn’t need more expensive houses, investment properties and second homes. What it needs are low-cost houses, houses for social rent and houses to buy within the reach of lower and average income earners.
Will Mrs May tighten up planning law to stamp out such abuses or are we to conclude that the private sector, as hitherto, cannot be trusted to provide low-cost and “affordable” homes?”