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Affordable housing in smaller developments

09 January 2015


From the Rt Revd John D. Davies

Sir, - The Church Times is vigilant in drawing attention to issues of social concern, especially as they affect people who are at disadvantage in present circumstances. I, therefore, ask you to notice a change of government policy which was conveyed in the form of a written statement in the Commons on a recent Friday afternoon (see Hansard, 28 November).

The Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, Brandon Lewis, stated that, on sites of ten or fewer units, there should no longer be an obligation to provide affordable housing. It is common in rural areas for new housing to be built in small clusters of ten or less. This announcement could mean, in effect, the disappearance of affordable housing from rural development.

The statement included some glowing endorsements of these changes from representatives of the building industry - for whom it could be seen as a welcome Christmas (or even pre-election) present. But nowhere in the statement is there any recognition that the provision of affordable housing is an essential element in a programme of social justice. It is seen only as a nuisance to developers.

Local councils in the area where I live have expressed their concern about this announcement, and I suggest that it is a matter that should come to the attention of all boards for social responsibility.

Nyddfa, By Pass Road,Gobowen, Shropshire SY11 3ND

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