A DECISION not to include affordable housing in Bournemouth’s first town centre master vision redevelopment has been labelled “scandalous” by a Bournemouth councillor.

Plans to build 64 flats and a cafe or restaurant at Leyton Mount car park are ready to go, after cabinet members agreed to invest £2million of land and money into the scheme.

It will be the first step in Bournemouth’s ambitious “vision” to regenerate key sites across the town centre – but the decision not to include any affordable housing has sparked a political row.

Bournemouth council’s planning policy is that all redevelopment sites are tested to see how much affordable housing they should provide and whether it is viable to provide this on-site or by means of a financial contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.

Leyton Mount had been assessed against the criteria with the result that the developer – a partnership between Bournemouth Council and Morgan Sindall – will be required to make a financial contribution. All 64 flats at Leyton Mount will then be sold on the open market.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Roger West said: “I think it’s shocking. At the cabinet meeting I said it was scandalous and I stand by that. If we had a real heart we would be making sure we were building more affordable housing for our young people and this is an ideal way to do that.”

But Conservative Cllr Michael Filer said: “This is a win-win situation. We are working towards a future, a brighter future.

“We are bringing in town centre residences, homes of a good standard and we’re moving an existing car park to an alternative place.

“I really feel this is something we should be proud of. It’s stage one of the town centre master vision, there are other developments moving on. There should be congratulations, rather than the word scandalous.”

And council leader John Beesley warned Cllr West: “I would ask you to temper your language. What we’re trying to do in housing provision is an example to many other local authorities.”

He said Bournemouth council was “totally dedicated” to providing affordable housing.