Devon

Affordable homes in Devon 'cut by 8,000'

Plans for 8,000 affordable homes to be built in Devon have been axed, the National Housing Federation says.

It said Torbay Council axed plans for 5,000 homes and Exeter 3,000.

The federation added that authorities had "torn up" plans to build affordable housing after the government scrapped house building targets.

Torbay Council said it had come to no formal decision on housing numbers. Exeter said numbers had been cut because of a lack of appropriate sites.

The National Housing Federation said it was also facing a government cut of 63%.

Draft strategy

Torbay Council said the 5,000 homes noted by the federation related to the difference between the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy (10,000 dwellings) and the government's proposed changes version (15,000 dwellings).

It added: "Following a stakeholder workshop in October 2010, it is considered that a sustainable growth strategy could achieve about 12,500 dwellings over a 20-year period."

It also said that, as it had not made a decision about numbers, it could not break down how many homes out of the figure of 5,000 would have been affordable, but it was likely to be less than 1500.

A public consultation on a draft strategy for Torbay is to be carried out in the summer.

Exeter City Council said its plans had been cut from 15,000 homes to 12,000 because there was a lack of appropriate sustainable sites to accommodate the properties.

It added: "The proposals for 12,000 homes is still an increase in past rates of housing completions and that required by previous planning strategies."

Housing Minister Grant Shapps told BBC News the government had introduced a wide package of reforms designed to increase the building of houses.

He also said the government was making extra funding available to build more affordable homes, and was introducing a new affordable rent scheme.

In Devon, about 38,000 households have registered to find a council or housing association home.

The National Housing Federation said the average home in the South West cost almost 11 times the average local wage.

David Ashmore, chairman of the federation's South West Regional Committee, said: 'With thousands of planned homes around the region being axed despite major affordability issues and huge waiting lists, it's even more important than ever that housing associations, government agencies and local authorities work together to find solutions to the challenges we face."

The federation represents over 1,000 independent housing associations in England.

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