Cllr Mark Lithgow is raising questions for Taunton Deane council about the lack of social housing on the new Heritage Mill estate under construction at Tone Vale.“As a town councillor for Wellington, I’m aware that of the 90 new homes now nearing completion at Tone Vale, none falls into the category of social or affordable housing,” says Lithgow, the newest member on the town council.
“The new estate is being built by Strongvox developers and some of the properties are already being advertised for sale.
“The reason for the complete absence of any social or affordable housing is, I gather, that Stongvox has pledged a sum of £780,000 towards the preservation of the heritage aspect of the old Fox’s Tone Works factory site nearby instead, a project which, incidentally, is already beset with various problems.
“Thus, the question has to be asked: what will happen to that £780,000 if the Fox Mills project falls by the wayside for some unforeseen reason?
“Another important aspect of this situation in the longer term is that in order to fulfil its commitment to provide a quota of social housing in Taunton Deane by 2030, each and every new housing site in the area would have to comprise 50% social housing, which I feel is an unrealistic target, particularly in view of the ease with which development companies seem to be able to default on this.
“There is a similar problem, as I write, with a large proposed housing development in our Taunton Deane area at Staplegrove where, similarly, there is only a pitiably small proposal – a 10% reduction on what was originally envisaged – for social housing.
“As with pretty much everywhere in the UK, we have a severe shortage of suitable, up-to-date social housing in this area to provide homes for our more vulnerable members of society, so questions to TDBC – as well as the developers – need to be asked about all of this, and soon..”