AFFORDABLE housing is a crucial helping hand for so many people, it’s not a cure-all, but it is a help. So when you get a developer such as Taylor Wimpey slashing the numbers to zilch in a massive development of over 640 homes it is a shock. Obviously there is history here, the cost of the A168 junction has soared, and Taylor Wimpey along with Linden Homes did step in when the previous builders collapsed.

But they are big fish, and they signed the deal to carry on with Sowerby Gateway at Thirsk, hopes were pinned on them providing much needed homes for people who can’t afford to fork out the full cost .The government’s definition of affordable homes is a trifle shady, homes are supposed to be offered at 80 per cent of the market rent with houses sold provided at a level at which the mortgage payments on the property should be more than paid in rent on council housing but below market levels and to remain at an affordable price for the future.

So while Taylor Wimpey can say 40 per cent affordable homes have been provided in the previous two stages, that’s around 100 homes, and still leaves a massive deficit of 246.

So we have to be suspicious.and quite frankly we have a right to be, this is not how things should be done. And while you can see Hambleton District council is caught in the middle of this they are the planning authority so need to take responsibility.

And the bigger question has to be asked, how many other new developments have suddenly had big reductions in the numbers of affordable homes at the eleventh hour? This is something which needs to be examined much more closely and as a matter or urgency.