A COUNCILLOR has appealed to his authority to take action to ensure enough affordable homes are built, saying they must not be seen as a “soft touch”.

Cllr Martin Tod’s proposal, put before Winchester City Council, was to address some developers not meeting the council’s rules for 40 per cent affordable housing in their schemes.

His motion states developers “are increasingly challenging social and affordable housing contributions on the grounds of viability” –- that the scheme would not be financially viable with that much affordable housing.

It says that some councils have brought in policies to address this.

Among Cllr Tod’s suggestions was making viability assessments public and reviewed by an independent expert.

Leader Cllr Stephen Godfrey said the council was already carrying out some of the ideas put forward by Cllr Tod, but said others could prove legally difficult.

However, he said the council did support greater openness.

Cabinet proposed, and was supported by full council. that viability assessments and discussions on this now appear on the public planning register unless there were exceptional circumstances.

However, a report to councillors said if introduced it was unlikely this would lead to an increase in the number of affordable homes.

Cllr Todd said it was a “step in the right direction”, but said other authorities had taken a “tougher line” adding “it’s essential that we’re not seen as a soft touch”.

Conservative Cllr Ian Tait said he shared these concerns and pointed to the 3,500-home North Whiteley development as an example.