Councillors to clamp down on 'exceptions' to housing mix rules - The Stratford Observer
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14th Aug, 2022

Councillors to clamp down on 'exceptions' to housing mix rules

Laura Kearns 18th Apr, 2018

CONCERNED councillors are clamping down on developers pushing first time buyers out of the market.

Stratford Town Council recently accused Stratford District Council of failing to comply with planning legislation in the Core Strategy which stipulates how many of each type of home should make up a development.

The planning document – which shapes future development in the district until 2031 – says housing developments should consist of up to ten per cent one bedroom properties, 40 per cent two bedroom, 45 per cent three bedroom and 20 per cent with four bedrooms and higher.

But figures show the actual number built since the Core Strategy was implemented in 2016 vary dramatically, with just two per cent of developments made up of one bedroom homes and a huge 32 per cent with four or more bedrooms.

And district council leader Chris Saint says he is aware of the issue and it lies with developers who currently have too many ways around building more profitable larger homes than more affordable smaller properties.

Councillors are expected to approve plans which will make it more difficult for developers to change the housing mix without having a viable reason at a full council meeting on Tuesday (April 24).

Coun Saint told the Observer: “In my view developers were coming forward and being granted different housing mixes far too often.

“It is important to us to see these smaller, more affordable houses built to help people get their foot on the property ladder.”

The report looking into the housing mix in Stratford district, which has been issued ahead of the full council meeting, said many developers were building larger homes for ‘reasons of profitability’.

It also read: “While the Core Strategy does make provision for exceptions to the preferred mix there is a danger that if sufficient applications are treated as exceptions then this clause will be seen by many residents as meaningless as well as unfair to both developers who do comply with the preferred mix and residents who wish to purchase a smaller dwelling.”

The move to limit changes to the housing mix was welcomed by Stratford Town Council.

A spokeswoman said: “Anything which will safeguard the housing mix, providing affordable homes in Stratford, is something which wins absolute support from the town council and should be applauded.”

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