Just 15 per cent of 1,250 new homes in Banwell to be affordable

PUBLISHED: 11:15 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:15 28 February 2020

88 homes to be built in Banwell

88 homes to be built in Banwell

Archant

Fewer than 200 of 1,250 new homes in Banwell will be affordable, it has emerged.

North Somerset councillors said it was 'extremely disappointing' to get half the expected number of houses for people on lower incomes.

The authority's planning boss said the costs of flood defences and a major new road had hit the viability of the scheme.

Councillors approved the appearance and layout of 88 houses during the planning and regulatory committee meeting held on February 19, where it was revealed only 13 of the houses in this phase of the development were affordable.

An officer told members the developer's viability assessment had been subject to a 'good deal of scrutiny' and that it was not possible to provide 30 per cent affordable housing. He said the rate was likely to be 'pretty much' 15 per cent across all 1,250 homes.

Richard Kent, the council's head of planning, said: "There's a hugely expensive flood-mitigation scheme. It's working well in the heavy rain.

"There's also the north-south link road that has been hugely expensive. That's bitten into the viability calculations. That's one reason why the affordable housing isn't as high as we wanted it."

North Somerset Council expects 30 per cent of the houses on large developments to be affordable - defined nationally as 'social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market'.

Agent Ian Drew, representing Taylor Wimpey, said there would be 228 parking spaces, and that the roads were widened so on-street parking would also be available.

Cllr Ann Harley said: "This is the beginning of a 1,250-home development. My concern is about narrow roads. With 88 houses, there will be quite a few visitors. If they park in the road, emergency services and waste vehicles won't be able to get through.

"We should be looking at extra parking for visitors here and in other parts of the development."

Cllr Bridget Petty, the executive member for the climate emergency, said: "We need to build houses fit for purpose and that residents can live in that are robust to the weather conditions we can now expect.

"The council picks up the bill when homes are flooded, and we have to build additional flood defences. I'm disappointed at the number of affordable houses."

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