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Lib Dems vow to build 20,000 affordable homes

The Liberal Democrats would tackle the “crippling undersupply of housing” in Wales, says Peter Black AM.

The Negotiator

affordable homes imageThe Liberal Democrats has announced plans to develop 20,000 affordable homes in Wales by 2021 if the party is in Government after the 2016 assembly election.

Lib Dem Peter Black imageLib Dem AM Peter Black (left) said his party would tackle the “crippling undersupply of housing” in Wales by using new borrowing powers and by abolishing plans for an M4 relief road.

The target to build 20,000 affordable homes over the five-year period is double that set by the existing Labour Government in Wales.

After launching a housing supply pact with the with Community Housing Cymru last year promising to build 10,000 new affordable homes during the terms of the Government, Housing and Regeneration Minister, Carl Sargeant, said, “Increasing the supply of homes in Wales is my top priority and I am committed to working with developers, housing associations, local authorities and financiers to bring forward innovative schemes that will increase the supply of good quality affordable homes.”

Over half of the Welsh Government’s affordable housing target – set at 7,500 homes – was met within the first two years in power, with most properties delivered by housing associations.

Meanwhile, Adam Hesse, Director at Home Counties land broker Aston Mead, has expressed his concern that a rise in affordable housing targets could hamper house building targets across the UK following a recent High Court ruling.

Following a legal challenge by Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire District Council, the ruling by Justice David Holgate forced Ministers to scrap guidance which excluded developments of 10 homes or fewer from the requirement to provide or contribute to affordable housing provision. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has said it will appeal the High Court’s ruling.

Aston Mead Adam Hesse imageAston Mead Director Adam Hesse (left) said, “Frankly, this ruling by the High Court is absolutely insane. There’s no question that it will lead to fewer homes being built as a result. It has already stopped a stack of proposals in their tracks and a lot of sites in our pipeline are now being renegotiated.

“Sites that may well have been suitable for ten units will now be reduced to whatever the new threshold is, so full use won’t be made of the brownfield land available. Consequently it will mean less income for districts and boroughs – the very same organisations fighting for a change to the guidance in the first place. It’s utter madness!”

Hesse now fears that the ruling could make it harder for many developers to meet their house building targets, particularly smaller construction firms.

He added, “No one doubts that the country desperately needs more homes. It is already falling far short of current house-building targets. A ruling like this is a significant blow for smaller residential developers and will only serve to ensure that those targets are even harder to meet.”

September 22, 2015

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