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Concern for the future of Dales communities

Concern for the future of Dales communities

Published at 7:48am 14th January 2015. (Updated at 11:50am 14th January 2015)

Plans to build more affordable homes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been cut by more than half, following new housing rules introduced by the Government.

The changes mean local planning authorities no longer have the power to insist that a proportion of new homes planned for a site should be built as affordable housing.

In the Dales, the National Park Authority says half of all the houses built would have been affordable homes.

It's raised concern about the survival of some villages, if fewer young people are able to start families there.

The Authority had initially resisted plans which would have seen no requirement for affordable housing on any sites where fewer than 11 houses were going to be built.

Now members say they've very reluctantly agreed to adopt a lower threshold on sites for fewer than six houses.

On developments between six and 10 houses, the Authority will now only be able to ask for a 'commuted sum' - a cash payment from the developer in lieu of actually building the affordable homes.

The changes are likely to lead to a significant cut in the number of affordable homes built in the National Park, according to Authority Chairman Peter Charlesworth.

He said: "This Government decision is a severe blow to the housing objectives of this Authority, the district councils within the National Park and rural areas in general.

"30 sites in the National Park are allocated for housing and these were originally expected to yield up to 115 new affordable homes.

"But the new changes - even taking into account the lower threshold for National Parks - mean that we can require affordable housing on only five of the 30 sites, which will provide only 50 affordable homes.

"It's not good news for the future viability of local communities who are already under severe pressure, but we have no option but to accept these changes in national policy and try to make the best of it."