CEREDIGION County Council has accepted a payment from a developer instead of the provision of two affordable dwellings.

The payment, known as a ‘commuted sum’, is perfectly legal and the arrangement allows developers to pay the council money to opt out of a requirement to provide affordable housing.

In 2006, the council approved the construction of five dwellings on land adjacent to Ty’r Ysgol, Lledrod, which was conditional on two of the constructed dwellings being ‘affordable’.

The council has confirmed it has approved an application from the developer, Ian Jones of Rheidol Developments Ltd, to forego the provision of the two affordable dwellings in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.

The decision was approved by officers under delegated powers with the backing of local member Cllr Ifan Davies, and the council has said the money would go towards “the delivery of affordable housing”.

In his application, Mr Jones explains: “There has been no demand for ‘affordable’ houses on this site. Furthermore it is not possible to produce ‘affordable’ houses economically.”

Relative to income, housing in Cer­edigion is among the most expensive in Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. Figures reveal house prices in Ceredigion are 7.6 times higher than earnings.

“This affordability gap has remained stubbornly high for a number of years, with house prices consistently more than seven times annual earnings," said Ben Lake MP.

“As such it is crucial that the local authority works with housing developers to make this happen, and that all available investment is used to ensure affordable homes are built as swiftly as possible to meet local demand and address the needs of communities across the county.”

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