STOKESLEY Town Council has described attempts by a housing developer to renegotiate the amount of affordable housing it promised as “outrageous”.

The development of 25 homes on the site of the former White House Farm was supposed to include nearly 40 per cent affordable housing - now Gentoo Homes want to provide four per cent. In other words; a single house.

Stokesley council are right; it is outrageous.

Affordable housing isn’t a token gesture towards society, it’s the difference between younger generations being able to stay in the area and leaving, between communities remaining viable and between young adults and families being given a chance to start an independent life of their own.

It sadly seems an increasing trend as developers attempt to maximise their profits from house building by building luxury homes and turning their backs on the kind of homes desperately needed.

The financial arguments put forward in support of these applications need fierce scrutiny by councils.

The pay-off is money promised to councils for other projects and infrastructure, but surely the affordability of homes should be a priority.

Thousands of homes are currently being built across the region, many of which were reluctantly agreed to by communities on the understanding they would provide homes for their children and grandchildren.

Such a fundamental part of an agreement should not be casually thrown to one side by simply going back and altering a clause in an approved planning application.