The following question was asked by Cllr Matt Stevens (Labour) of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Russell (Lib Dem) at the Full Council meeting on Wednesday:
Question:- The Civil Service Sports Ground in Freemantle has now been sold to a developer can he tell us who and how much affordable housing the Council will be pushing for on the site?
This was the written answer:
The Civil Service Sports Ground was recently purchased by Bovis Homes.
The site is allocated in the Local Plan Review as protected open space. Development would only be permitted in exceptional circumstances which are defined in the Local Plan Review policy for the Protection of Open Spaces (CLT3). The recent city wide open space audit, to be published shortly, will provide an objective assessment of the adequacy of open space in this location. Provision would need to be made to replace any open space lost with new space of equal benefit (or better) to the community. Loss of playing pitches will be strongly resisted and relocation of pitches to the fringes of the city will not be acceptable.
As a general principle for potential levels of affordable housing, the Local Plan policy states ‘On housing sites where 15 or more dwellings are proposed or which exceed 0.5 hectares in size (irrespective of the number of dwellings), the City Council will seek, through negotiation, up to 25% of affordable housing’.
I was slightly concerned by the question as I thought there was a definite political consensus not to allow housing on the site (affordable or otherwise). I was even more worried by the supplementary questions and answers.
I will be writing to the Labour Party and the Lib Dems seeking their assurances that they will continue to support the Council's local plan which designates the land as 100% open space.