Barnard Castle councillor urges builders to contribute towards more affordable housing (From The Advertiser Series)
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Barnard Castle councillor urges builders to contribute towards more affordable housing
A COUNCILLOR has urged commercial builders to contribute towards affordable housing in order to help people to continue living in their hometown.
Barnard Castle is one of 12 towns featured in Durham County Council’s 20-year County Durham Plan, which proposes to build hundreds of new houses in Teesdale over the next two decades.
Councillor Thom Robinson suggested to fellow members of Barnard Castle Town Council that commercial builders should pay towards affordable housing and said: “It is a very sad situation that people are moving from the area because they cannot afford to live here.
“Affordable housing should be made 25 per cent of any housing scheme that is developed.”
Concerns have previously been raised that there is not enough employment opportunities to match the new housing in Barnard Castle, which councillors fear could result in the town becoming a ‘dormitory town’ for commuters.
There are also calls for more supermarkets in the area and a bypass to reduce traffic congestion in Barnard Castle’s town centre, although the county council has said that option would not be included in the masterplan because it was not financially viable.
However, Councillor Robinson suggested banning lorries from the town centre and improved road signs would be a more effective option for easing traffic in the town centre rather than building a new road.
He said: “I think a relief road would be damaging for Barnard Castle as a commercial centre, a tourist destination and to the environment to the east of Barnard Castle.
“Building a road is hugely damaging to any eco-system, especially going through prime farm land encompassing a vista that includes The Bowes Museum.
“An HGV ban for the centre of Barnard Castle would conserve our town centre better.”
The deadline for comments on the pre-submission County Durham Plan was Friday (December 6).
Once the masterplan is agreed by Durham County Council, it will set guidelines for future development across County Durham.
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