Dartmoor National Park affordable housing reviewed

Building at Holne Since the policy was introduced to the national park in 2008, 92 affordable homes have been built, but the target was 250

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A policy which only allows affordable houses to be built in villages in a national park could be dropped because of a government funding squeeze.

Housing associations and developers claim funding cuts mean they are struggling to find the money to build the affordable homes.

As a result, the Dartmoor National Park Authority is considering allowing open market housing to be built.

The government said affordable homes were a priority.

'More challenging'

Since the policy was introduced to the national park in 2008, 92 affordable homes have been built, but the target was 250.

Mark Wilson, from developer Bibio Ltd - which is building affordable housing in Holne on Dartmoor, said: "Government funding used to be in the region of £70,000 per unit until a couple of years ago, now it's in the region of £20,000, so you can see why it's more challenging for housing associations."

The consultation on the draft policy ended in February and the authority will vote in April.

Stephen Belli, planning director at the authority, said: "It's not a charter for developers and for us to have to allow open-market on every site in a village."

"It's not something we want to entertain... but it's something we are keeping an open mind on."

A spokesperson from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "House building is an essential part of this government's long-term economic plan.

"Our £19.5bn affordable homes programme is well on track and exceeding original expectations, with almost 100,000 out of 170,000 homes already delivered.

"In addition, a new £23bn scheme will build up to 165,000 affordable homes over the next three years, the fastest rate for 20 years."

They added that by using more private sector funding than previous programmes the scheme would achieve "a better deal for taxpayers".

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