Wyre Council

Wyre Borough Council hits back at Shelter claims

Published on Thursday 18th March 2010

Wyre Borough Council has hit back at claims by Shelter that Wyre ranks among the worst in the country for delivering enough affordable homes to meet local need.

In a press release issued today under embargo (until 00.01 hours on 19 March) the charity launched a stinging attack on a number of councils in England, drawing up its own league table based on figures from various sources.

But Wyre believes these statistics only tell half the story.

Garry Payne, Director of Planning and Regeneration for Wyre Borough Council, said: "I am very disappointed at the blinkered comments by Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb claiming that Wyre needs to work harder to provide affordable homes.

"Had he taken the time to talk to us rather than accept the figures at face value he would have learned about the strong commitment of the council and its partners and the large strides we have already taken towards meeting almost impossible targets.

"Since 2008, our planning committee has granted approval to developments across Wyre with provision for a total of 232 affordable homes, with another 29 pending, although some of these have stalled due to market conditions

"We have also supported one developer in successfully securing almost £1m of Kick Start funding which means 58 affordable homes in Fleetwood in addition to those already secured via a section 106 agreement, giving a total of 70.

"And our largest registered social landlord, Regenda, has declared Wyre a gold authority for development investment after having to prioritise the areas it focuses development on. To have them pledge a long-term partnership with the borough shows they recognise our proactive approach to proving affordable homes.

"It is correct to state that 600 affordable homes per year are needed to meet need in Wyre and this is in addition to market housing. What has to be realised is that a borough that is 60 per cent rural (open countryside and green belt) will never be able to develop out at such a high level.

"In addition, housing associations would never be able to access funds to support development of such magnitude.

"What Mr Robb also fails to recognise is that Wyre historically had a significant number of families on the homeless list but through the introduction of an imaginative homelessness policy, for the past two years the level of homeless families has been maintained at zero per cent. We welcome comments from Mr Robb on this significant achievement."

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