05 DEC 2013

MP WELCOMES NATIONAL PARK'S ADMISSION THAT AFFORDABLE HOMES POLICY IS NOT WORKING

MP WELCOMES NATIONAL PARK'S ADMISSION THAT AFFORDABLE HOMES POLICY IS NOT WORKING

A new report by Pembrokeshire National Park has revealed that its affordable homes policy is not working and that urgent action needs to be taken to change it.

The report reveals that the policy is failing and that only half the number of affordable homes they hoped for were built in the National Park in the past six years.

The report, written by a special committee set up by the Authority, recommends that the Welsh Government is lobbied "at the earliest opportunity" to review legislation that governs the area.

It also says that consideration should be given to varying the percentage of affordable housing required in the Local Development Plan's allocations.

At the moment an affordable homes contribution or tax is charged on all building work carried out in the National Park. If just one house is being built then the builder is charged £250 per square metre. If two or more homes are being built then the National Park seeks to have at least 50 % of the homes designated as affordable.

Simon Hart MP, who has held a public meeting and a Westminster debate to highlight the issue, welcomed the news that the report has been accepted in full by National Park Authority members.

He said: "I am delighted that the National Park is recognising the severity of the situation at last. They are accepting that their Affordable Homes policy has failed to achieve what it set out to and that urgent steps need to be taken to improve things.

"The figures in the scrutiny report show that the policy has severely hampered building in the National Park - something that I was hearing time and again from builders, tradesmen and developers.

"It's great that their voices have been listened to and I am writing to the Welsh planning Minister to urge him to listen to what the National Park has to say and to change the policy before any more damage is done to Pembrokeshire's economy."

Ends

PIC CAP: Margaret Hughes outside Squibbs Studio in Tenby that she ran with her husband for 55 years. Also pictured is her son Mike Hughes and Simon Hart MP. The National Park's affordable homes policy meant that she could not afford to pay the tax required to convert the studio into flats.

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