Full Council will debate and vote on a Green Party motion on Tues 13th Dec to enable more affordable housing to be built across Bristol. The call follows controversy over a planned development for 135 houses in an old Chocolate Factory in Easton, which was postponed by councillors on the planning committee over concerns about the lack of affordable housing.
Green councillor Stephen Clarke, who tabled the motion said:
“Everyone talks about the need for affordable housing - Bristol’s own Mayor Marvin Rees pledged to build 800 a year, but for this to be possible we need an urgent change in how our housing system works. It is all too easy for developers to fail to deliver the council’s own affordable housing target of 30%-40% by saying that if they include affordable homes they won’t make enough profit. At the moment, the council has very limited powers to insist on the affordable housing that is so desperately needed across the city.”
“If developers say that they cannot afford to include affordable housing in a new development then the viability assessments they use to justify this should be made available to the public, as we call for in our motion. Developers must be prepared to be transparent with the public when they are failing to deliver the affordable housing Bristol so badly needs.”
The Green Party have called for half a million homes to be available for social rent by 2020 across the country. This would cost £27 billion over the course of the parliament which could be paid for by increasing Government spending on social housing by £4.5 billion a year and removing the cap on what local authorities can borrow to build new housing.
Leader of the Green councillor group, Charlie Bolton continued:
“We know that the housing crisis is a national, not just a local issue, but we need strong leadership from our city leaders to call for change. There are thousands of plots in Bristol with existing planning permission, but in many sites developments have stalled. It is just common sense to allow the Council to charge Council Tax on sites with planning permission if they have not been developed within a reasonable timescale, rather than letting them sit there unoccupied year upon year. If Council Tax was charged on the unbuilt properties rather than allowing developers to sit on the land, some £10 million a year could be added to the council’s income. ”
Council Bolton concluded:
“We hope to get cross-party support for the Green motion on affordable housing at next week’s Full Council to that we can see real change towards enabling more affordable houses to be built. After all everyone has the right to a decent home.”
© Image Ruth Sharville