As Acorn Developments backs out of building ‘affordable’ homes on the site of the old Royal High School in Lansdown, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse calls their behaviour ‘disgraceful’.
She said: “Across the country, developers are increasingly using the loophole of ‘a viability study’ to claim that they shouldn’t have to build ‘affordable’ homes. Affordable homes reduce developer’s profits, so they try and get out of building them, resulting in vast swathes of the population being excluded from certain areas.”
“The problem with these so-called viability studies is that developers produce them after planning consent has been granted, and often once they have already started the development.”
“It was even mentioned in yesterday’s adjournment debate on housing in the House of Commons, where the Housing Minister said he wanted to see viability studies happening much earlier in the planning process. Time will tell if the Conservatives will take action to stop developers bulldozing Bath’s best interests in favour of their own pockets, and put an end to this late stage dodgy dealing.”
“We are not even talking about social housing, which Bath so desperately needs. This is about ‘affordable’, which is roughly 80% of market rates, and is fully backed by the government in terms of grants and help to buy. Developers are making huge profits these days and pay themselves massive salaries and bonuses, as we saw earlier in the week with the Persimmons CEO’s bonus.”
“So, it is simply disgraceful that any developer should refuse to build affordable homes. We should be telling these developers that they are not welcome in Bath, if this is how they are going to behave.”
“Along with the loss of social housing in Foxhill, I will be bringing this up with the Housing Minister when I meet with him early in the new year.”