Withdrawal of affordable housing branded 'an insult to local people'

CONCERNS: Barry Thompson from Dorchester Labour Party concerned over move to remove affordable housing from the Charles Street development

CONCERNS: Barry Thompson from Dorchester Labour Party concerned over move to remove affordable housing from the Charles Street development

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

A MOVE to withdraw any affordable housing from the Charles Street development has been branded ‘an insult to local people’.

A proposal that will see West Dorset District Council potentially contribute a further £2million to developer Simons by underwriting the second phase of the town centre scheme has been heavily criticised.

However, it has also emerged that the developer is now also seeking to remove any affordable housing element to the scheme, which originally had an allocation of 14 affordable homes.

The suggestion was revealed at a meeting of the council’s efficiency scrutiny committee by director of environment Dr David Evans.

He said: “The current proposal is to delete the affordable housing in favour of all market flats in order to make the scheme viable.”

Barry Thompson, chairman of the Dorchester and District Labour Party, has slammed the move.

He said: “Public money has been used and the local people of Dorchester and West Dorset badly need affordable housing, either to buy or rent.”

Mr Thompson said that with West Dorset being a ‘haven’ for second home owners and holiday homes, local residents already had enough problems getting on the property ladder.

He added: “The decision to withdraw the affordable houses is wrong and an insult to local people.

“We need more affordable housing in West Dorset for local people.”

Mr Thompson said he was also ‘appalled’ at the idea of a further £2million of public funds being allocated to the Charles Street developers, a proposal which was backed by the efficiency and will now go before the executive committee and full council.

This comes on top of a loan of £250,000 the council has already provided to Simons and up to £2m it allocated in October 2012 for preparatory works on the phase two site.

Mr Thompson said: “I was appalled that they had approved another £2million handout to Simons for the Charles Street development, taking its contribution to over £4million.”

David Evans, director of environment at West Dorset District Council, said: “The district council’s policy is to ensure that 35 per cent of new housing on any development is affordable.

“This is, however, easier to achieve on some sites, for example green field sites, where extra costs like archaeological excavations do not have to be met.

“Sometimes the cost of providing affordable housing makes a development unviable.

“If this happens the district council will negotiate with the developer, taking account of the viability evidence and whether the development would benefit the community in other ways, for example by attracting shops and businesses, before making a final decision.

“What is currently being suggested by the developer for Charles Street scheme is therefore in line with our normal practice for all development sites.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:00pm Wed 29 Jan 14

PHonnor says...

All property developers are just in it for maximum profit, much needed affordable housing doesn't work for them, they don't care who lives in the shodderly built rabbit hutches no mater how much they claim.
All property developers are just in it for maximum profit, much needed affordable housing doesn't work for them, they don't care who lives in the shodderly built rabbit hutches no mater how much they claim. PHonnor
  • Score: 5

4:25pm Wed 29 Jan 14

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

David Evans, director of environment at West Dorset District Council, said: “What is currently being suggested by the developer for Charles Street scheme is therefore in line with our normal practice for all development sites.”
This has a whiff about it to me (but I could be wrong).
If the developer doesn't get his way will he stop the development of the site or is this just a bluff?
David Evans, director of environment at West Dorset District Council, said: “What is currently being suggested by the developer for Charles Street scheme is therefore in line with our normal practice for all development sites.” This has a whiff about it to me (but I could be wrong). If the developer doesn't get his way will he stop the development of the site or is this just a bluff? IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE
  • Score: 3

4:46pm Wed 29 Jan 14

CoogarUK.com says...

WDDC's skills in negotiating with Simons appear to be on a par with Tony Blair's with George W Bush.
WDDC's skills in negotiating with Simons appear to be on a par with Tony Blair's with George W Bush. CoogarUK.com
  • Score: 2

7:19pm Wed 29 Jan 14

westbaywonder says...

Simples.....
They want max profit and no chavs.
Simples..... They want max profit and no chavs. westbaywonder
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree