I WAS disappointed to read the article regarding the Princess Road development in Friday’s Echo.

It was a glass half empty spin, about a glass over two thirds full of affordable housing.

72% of the new development will involve homes which will be ‘affordable housing’.

This 72% share is nearly double the 40% required by policy.

The ‘affordable rented’ homes within the development will be, by definition, rented out at rent levels no more than 80% of market rent levels – we also choose to cap these rents at the Local Housing Allowance benefit amounts.

‘Social rent’ levels are another form of ‘affordable housing’ but are at a rent level which is even lower again.

Both ‘affordable rent’ and ‘social rent’ meet the government definition of ‘affordable housing’ in that they are both offered at sub-market rent levels for people in housing need, and are much lower than the rents that many people pay in the private rented sector.

Combined with a 20-bed family hostel, which will be invaluable in improving the lives of families who find themselves homeless.

It was a development I inherited from the previous portfolio holder, Cllr Lawton, and one that I challenged my officers on regarding social rents - what they came back to me with was a £5.1 million deficit. Not exactly pocket change.

And it wouldn’t be a good start to my tenure as the portfolio holder when we potentially have another 2,479 homes to build per year in the BCP area. Many of which will be social rented, I have a personal commitment to that agenda.

And my officers are in the process of creating a briefing paper for me outlining the possibilities of social rent on new builds.

We haven’t built enough housing, and enough affordable housing for years. Across the country as well as the conurbation.

That’s a fact, and one that we as an Alliance will change over the next four years.

I have the upmost respect for Cllr Bartlett and his views, many of which I agree with, but I believe that this is a good development, which meets many of the requirements I set, mix tenure, mixed communities and affordable rents.

It’s just the beginning of an exciting four years ahead that will definitely include more new build properties rented out at the even lower ‘social rent’ levels for those who need them.

CLLR KEIRON WILSON,

Cabinet Member for Housing,

Bournemouth Town Hall