York’s Local Plan needs to deliver more affordable housing to help the most disadvantaged and boost the economy, according to developers, business leaders and an opposition councillor.
Independent inspectors have been told successive councils in York have failed to deliver enough affordable housing.
Labour’s Cllr Michael Pavlovic calls its fresh target of 221 homes per year until 2033 a “crass abdication of the responsibility of this plan and of the council”.
Statistics show that York needs 573 affordable homes per year.
Cllr Pavlovic said that a significant increase in people moving to York from London and the south-east was inflating house prices and that workers in key sectors were unable to live in the city.
Planning consultancy Lichfields, representing Bellway Homes, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey, have called for a ten percent increase in the council’s target.
Justin Gardner, for the council, said: “We recognise the need to do as much as we can to provide affordable housing but we don’t consider, given how far we’ve pushed the housing number up…that there’s any merit in doing anything further.”
Cllr Pavlovic said: “You’re effectively saying we’re dismissing a significant proportion of York’s population: whether that’s those that can’t afford to move out of a family home; those that are having to delay having children; or those who are then saying I’m about to be made homeless.”
It was noted by the inspectors that meeting the 573 target would push the council’s overall proposed housing requirement significantly above its current 822 homes per year figure.
Eamonn Keogh, representing the Galtres Garden Development Village, said there had been a “catastrophic collapse” in affordable housing delivery from 2013 – 2019 in York.
Mark Lane, for various clients, said the council had “massively failed” to deliver its affordable housing target in recent years.
“The council should make every effort possible to meet the identified need and they clearly haven’t done so and that’s making the most disadvantaged in our society worse off,” he said.
“There are many reasonable alternative sites throughout the district where additional allocations can be made – therefore boosting the number of affordable units provided.”
York Property Forum’s Steve Secker, representing York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, was also pushing for a higher overall housing number in York and backed Cllr Pavlovic’s comment about jobs being affected
“We hear from our members about the struggle to recruit,” he said.
“Businesses looking to relocate to York are put off by where they’re going to find the workforce and businesses are choosing to move elsewhere when they look to expand because of that lack of workforce.”
The Local Plan, which is currently being examined to see if it is sound, outlines where and what housing and employment developments will be built in the city over the next 20 years, and what land is classed as green belt.