Housing plan ‘for villagers’ to benefit people from outside of Somerset?
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 September 2017
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There are fears a plan to build affordable homes for people in East Huntspill could lead to workers from Hinkley Point C moving to the village and pushing up already-unaffordable house prices.
People met in East Huntspill last week to discuss the possibility of a 35-home development off New Road.
East Huntspill Parish Council is looking to provide affordable housing in the village after it found 14 people living in the parish are unable to buy homes in the traditional way, as house prices are too high.
It has explored a number of potential sites but has now asked Sedgemoor District Council to focus on developing a field off New Road.
Core Strategic Land has agreed to buy the plot if planning permission can be granted, but no developer is on board with the project yet.
If the land is developed, 14 of the 35 houses will be set aside as affordable properties, while the rest will be sold normally.
Speaking about the affordable homes, Sedgemoor District Council’s affordable housing policy and development manager Duncan Harvey said: “We are talking about housing which is designed to help local people access a suitable home at a price they can afford.
“The point is they have a connection to this community – we are not talking about importing people from elsewhere.”
But people raised concerns the other 21 houses would be sold to people from further afield and spoke about fresh housing demand for workers building the new Hinkley power station.
People are concerned their ability to pay high sums of money for housing would make the non-affordable houses out of reach for villagers.
Mr Harvey said who buys the other properties is ‘out of the council’s control’ but added they must be built so the developer can make a profit to mitigate the loss they will make on the affordable homes.
He also said flood assessments will be carried out after hearing concerns that the New Road area has been prone to flooding in the past.
If the assessments show the site is appropriate, a planning application could be made in December, ready for work to begin next June and homes to go on sale in spring 2019.