Leader of the Green Party councillor Group, Charlie Bolton, has submitted a statement to the Council’s planning committee meeting slamming the lack of affordable housing in plans to develop Bristol’s former Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Factory.
The former factory is a well-known local site in Easton, which used to be a major employer in the local area. Councillors are being asked to approve the development plans for the factory, despite the plans including no affordable housing. The developers, Generator South West, argue that to include affordable housing would make the scheme unviable, and the council may face legal action if councillors turn the application down.
Councillor Charlie Bolton said:
“Having no affordable housing included in the Chocolate Factory development is utterly appalling. We live in a city with desperate housing problems – increasing levels of homelessness, a private rented sector with rents which are far too high, and too many abuses of the power that landlords have – we need to build as many genuinely affordable homes as we can.”
“So for a planning application to come forward – and it is not the first – with zero affordable housing is quite unacceptable. It goes against everything we believe in. It is quite simply an attack on the poorest in the city.”
“I feel sorry for councillors who have to sit on planning committees when government leaves them such little power to enforce the council’s own affordable housing target of 30-40%. Government legislation hands over power to the developer, who can too easily justify building no affordable homes by saying it will prevent the development making enough money. Greens are calling for the viability assessments upon which claims are based to be made publicly available, and for the council to be given more power to insist building affordable houses are part of new developments wherever possible.”