York & North Yorkshire

Developer criticises York's housing plan

View of York Minster
Image caption York council is considering dropping affordable housing quotas to encourage home building

A property developer has claimed a reduction in affordable housing targets in York is not sufficient to encourage more home building.

The council has proposed dropping the proportion of affordable homes in any new developments by 5%.

It hopes the measure would increase builders' profit margins and encourage a rising in housing projects.

But one property developer said the change would "make no significant difference".

A report by research body the Centre for Cities said that 220 homes were built in York last year, one of the lowest figures in England.

In 2010 the council cut the requirement for the amount of affordable housing from 50% to 25% on brown-field developments and from 50% to 35% on green-field sites.

But property developer Michael Hammill said the proposed additional 5% cut in affordable housing targets was not enough allow him to make a profit on developments.

He said: "The regulatory burden that we're faced with makes some schemes which are borderline totally unviable.

"Bluntly, no it is not the answer. It's just tweaking at the edges, fiddling while Rome burns. It goes nowhere near enough. There is nothing bold in there at all."

Steve Waddington, City of York Council's assistant director for housing, denied that the affordable housing quotas were affecting new home building in the city.

"Builders can make it pay, builders are making it pay. We are seeing developments coming forward.

"We have to make sure that we have a city that provides accommodation for all its citizens."

The proposed reduction in targets will be discussed at a council meeting next week.

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