Many people are horrified by the number of new houses Dorset is likely to see built over the next decade or so. At the same time there is a real shortage of genuinely affordable housing for those needing it. We support both views and don’t see them as incompatible. We want less houses and flats built in total but a much higher proportion of them to be genuinely affordable. At present private developers are falling over themselves to build for open market sale because prices are so high in Dorset, hence highly profitable for builders. We don’t need those houses.
The general requirement, at least on larger sites, to provide 35% “affordable housing” does little good for those in need, and little harm to developer’s profits. The definition of affordable housing is no more than 80% of open market prices or rents. Surprise surprise, 80% is what they all opt for but that still produces figures way out of reach of people on an average local income.
Our approach is as radical as the circumstances demand. Suitable sites should be compulsorily purchased by Dorset Council and made available to housing associations and Community Land Trusts to build social rented housing. The equivalent of Council housing that this country once excelled at before the disaster of right to buy!