BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Sunday, 2 May 2010 09:28 UK

Candidates back more cheap homes for Devon South West

Architects' illustration of the Sherford Valley development
The number of affordable homes for Sherford Valley has dropped

Candidates in Devon South West have agreed that more affordable housing is needed in the area.

Conservative Gary Streeter said that affordable homes to buy and rent were needed to keep villages alive.

Labour's Luke Pollard agreed with Mr Streeter and said that more luxury homes were not needed in the area.

Liberal Democrat Anna Pascoe said new developments needed to include a substantial amount of affordable homes in their plans.

'High-value area'

A survey published by the National Housing Federation in October reported that, on average, properties in Devon cost more than 14 times the amount of earnings.

The average house costs £238,384, while wages in the area are on average £16,806.

Mr Streeter said: "We live in a low-wage, high-value area and we need more affordable housing to buy and to rent.

"Most local communities recognise this, not least to keep their villages alive, and we need more flexibility in the planning system."

What we need is more affordable local housing, what we don't need is more luxury flats
Luke Pollard, Labour

Supporting communities by providing affordable housing was also recognised by the Labour candidate.

Mr Pollard said: "Affordable housing is a concern for a lot of people and keeping communities together.

"What we need is more affordable local housing, what we don't need is more luxury flats."

Sherford Valley

Ms Pascoe said she had concerns about present plans for Sherford Valley, a new town due to be built on the outskirts of Plymouth later this year.

Planners proposed that 45% of the 5,500 homes would be affordable, but developers Red Tree have since reduced that figure to 25%, following the economic downturn.

Red Tree said affordable home targets could be increased once the market recovers.

Ms Pascoe said: "It is disappointing that the local councils are allowing developers to go ahead with projects such as Sherford, without the promised contribution of affordable homes."

• The candidates announced for Devon South West are: Green: Vaughan Brean; Liberal Democrat: Anna Pascoe; Labour: Luke Pollard; Conservative: Gary Streeter; UK Independence Party: Hugh Williams.

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