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Council leader confirms plan for more smaller affordable homes

Plans have been drawn up to build more smaller affordable homes across Lichfield and Burntwood.

Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox confirmed that the Local Plan is aiming to tackle the issue.

His comments come on the back of a report by the local authority into new welfare reforms. The report said those people hit by a bedroom tax in the district should take in a lodger – a claim described as “appalling” by a Labour councillor.

The report also admitted that not enough social housing was available to cater for those who are set to lose out because of unoccupied bedrooms in their properties.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

But Cllr Wilcox has said the local authority are drawing up plans to deal with the situation.

“When we receive an application for housing we to try to make sure that there is a suitable mix of properties, which includes one and two bedroom homes on the site, where appropriate,” he explained. “On large housing developments that will include a section 106 agreement, we negotiate with the developer to make sure there is also a suitable mix of smaller affordable homes.

“We have identified a need for smaller homes to be built across the district in our Local Plan, which is set to go before the Secretary of State soon. This Local Plan will inform the type of future developments that will be built locally.

“We hope it will have an impact on developers that will consider increasing the amount of smaller properties they build.”

As well as developing new smaller homes, the council is also keen to ensure current properties are being utilised correctly.

“Within our draft Housing Strategy, one of our aims is to make the best use of the housing stock,” Cllr Wilcox said. “It explains how we will work with housing associations to make the best use of their properties within the district, which will include reducing under occupation and making the best use of adapted homes.

“We also have a housing association development partnership that is aware of the shortage of suitable affordable homes, and will continue to identify all potential opportunities for developing new affordable homes in the future.”

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2 Comments

  1. plop

    22nd March, 2013 at 11:34 am

    let’s guess, the (already plenty profitable) housebuilders will get financial incentives to build affordable homes then? do you see the irony in having to make sure they build affordable homes? suggests they don’t already…

    what about all the empty properties around? two big office buildings sit empty (after you pulled your staff out!) on davidson road and there are more office there that have still never been filled. what about the land there that was supposed to have more homes on it but is just overgrown?

    why aren’t you making it easier for shop owners to lease out the upstairs of the 3-4 storey buildings that have to rent at crippling cost to their business?

    angel croft hotel is still abandoned and dilapidated, a really ugly site, just tear it down and build some homes!

    plenty of opportunity, pull your finger out, get a loan while it’s cheap and build/re-purpose some new social housing. not rocket science.

  2. BSARA

    12th April, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Is cross posting allowed? Leader admits welfare reform could mean lifestyle changes. Please refer below. The under provision of suitable smaller homes is directly related to local planning policy.

    Comment provided by The Lichfield Alliance

    Cllr Mike Wilcox’s statement emphasising the need to build more affordable/smaller homes is welcome, but merely repeats the Council’s existing “balanced housing market” policy, and the equivalent policy in the recently published draft Local Plan. Those aged 65+ will represent over 75% of the District’s population increase over the next twenty years. The Council has known this since 2008.

    What the Council does is much more important that what the Council says. Over the past decade or more, the planning committee have approved developments which shifted the provision of new houses towards larger / more expensive homes and away from smaller homes and social housing. Darwin Park is an obvious example. The overhang of existing planning consents means it will be a number of years before any change in planning policy is felt.

    The Council has failed to adopt a Local Plan before the transitional period in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) ran out on 27 March 2013. This means that the planning committee MUST make decisions in accordance with the NPPF, as all plans adopted before 2004 will be considered out of date.

    In the last month the District Council submitted its Local Plan to be tested at a public inquiry (Examination in Public). Why put this draft Local Plan in front of a planning inspector when Cllr Wilcox says the Council is still “drawing up plans to deal with the situation”? The purpose of the Local Plan is, after all, to set out policies according to which planning decisions will be taken.

    The website of the Lichfield Alliance is http://www.lichfield-alliance.co.uk. Its members are: Borrowcop & District Residents’ Association, BADRA, Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association, BSARA, Fradley Against Curborough Town, FACT, Leomansley Area Residents’ Association, LARA, Streethay Against Development, SAD, South Lichfield Residents’ Group, SLRGP