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City Hall leaders hit back at claims Norwich missed out on up to £33m worth of affordable homes

Norwich Green Party members at St Peter's Church in Norwich, where a scheme was rejected over a lack of affordable homes. Left to right, Martin Schmierer, Ann Nicholls, John Greenaway, Bob Gledhill, Denise Carlo and Peter Cutting.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Green Party members at St Peter's Church in Norwich, where a scheme was rejected over a lack of affordable homes. Left to right, Martin Schmierer, Ann Nicholls, John Greenaway, Bob Gledhill, Denise Carlo and Peter Cutting. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

City Hall leaders have hit back at claims Norwich missed out on up to £33m of affordable homes because the council was not tough enough on making developers build them.

Labour city councillor Mike Stonard. Photo : Steve Adams Labour city councillor Mike Stonard. Photo : Steve Adams

In developments of 10 homes or more, 33pc are meant to be affordable homes - aimed at people whose household income is below a certain level.

But the Green Party claimed its analysis of 15 major housing developments approved in the city between 2013 and 2016 showed that had not happened.

They said of the 299 affordable homes which should have been supplied if that requirement was met, just 39 were built.

But, at a meeting of Norwich City Council tonight, Labour councillors said those figures were wrong.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said of 1,481 homes built in Norwich from 2012 to 2016, 423 affordable homes had been built.

He said: “When you look at the overall picture, that’s 29pc, which is tantalisingly close to the 33pc, which many other councils would kill for.”

Mr Stonard added: “We are, of course, committed to maximising affordable housing in Norwich. The bigger picture here is national planning policy. The biggest threat to affordable housing is national Tory policy.”

Labour amended a Green motion on the issue, adding a call for the government to make it easier to hit the 33pc affordable homes target.

As part of their motion, the Greens wanted all viability assessments - used by developers to demonstrate schemes could not go ahead if targets for affordable housing were insisted upon - made public, but Labour amended that to consider making them public.

Mr Stonard said there could be occasions when they could not be, due to commercial sensitively.

After the meeting, Green councillor Tim Jones, who proposed the original motion, said: “This was an opportunity to send a clear signal that we will no longer be walked all over. Unfortunately, our stand has been weakened by Labour backing off from any real commitment.

“Green Party councillors will continue to push for more transparency and scrutiny of viability assessments so that Norwich gets the affordable housing its residents need.”

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