The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has defended a decision to back plans for five new homes in Bainbridge, despite opposition from local residents who said the scheme did not delivery truly “affordable” housing.
Last week, parish councillors in the village accused the park authority of being an “unelected quango” which ignored their views.
The criticism came after the authority approved plans for five homes behind the Rose and Crown pub.
The parish council has objected to the development, pointing out that the proposed houses were at least £80,000 more expensive that those in an earlier scheme which didn’t get approval.
Bainbridge Parish Council had asked for an explanation as to why planning permission was granted for the homes and in a statement issued this week, Jim Munday, member champion for development management at the park authority, said he was “happy to oblige, because this should really be a 100 per cent positive story”.
He added: “Parish councillors ask, how can the three-bed family homes in the scheme be classed as ‘affordable’ at £280,000? The answer is that nobody will have to pay that sort of money.
“What makes these homes affordable is that they will be put up for shared ownership. People will be able to buy, say, a 25 per cent share, with the remainder being owned by a housing association.
“t means that a young family in the parish could get at least one foot on the housing ladder for £70,000.”
Mr Munday said the authority knew there was demand for this type of housing in that part of the national park because people have already contacted us to say so.
“A key point is that we can only approve what is put before us.
“Our job as a planning authority is to make sure that a developer’s proposals fit with national and locally agreed planning policy. In this case, they do. Shared ownership is the model of affordable housing promoted by the Government.
“Our job is also to check that the plans are supported by the local housing authority, Richmondshire District Council. In this case, they are.
“In the unlikely event that these homes do not sell for shared ownership, they will be rented out by a housing association for an affordable rent. Either way, it’s a win-win situation as there will be more houses available for local people to live in.”
Mr Munday said he wanted to assure Bainbridge Parish Council that its views were “very important to us indeed”.
“Let’s all work together to make sure even more sites for affordable housing are found in the national park,” he added.