A high-profile Kirklees Council housing scheme has been adjusted after councillors claimed the original design was creating a “ghetto”.
Members of the Strategic Planning Committee refused to support the council’s own scheme last month after discovering it planned to lump all the ‘affordable homes’ on one street.
Councillors said they were “segregating” and “stigmatising” the families that would occupy the homes – which will be rented rather than owned.
At the time Clr Paul Kane said he felt “uncomfortable” about the council’s approach and said the people involved should be “ashamed”.
Clr Andrew Pinnock said the proposal did “nothing for social mobility” adding: “These houses are being put on one cul-de-sac, to me that makes it worse – to push people in a certain housing category into a ghetto, or a section all on their own.
“To segregate people is a thoroughly bad procedure.
“This is really unfortunate and will re-enforce stereotypes that we’re trying to break down.”
A month on and compromise has now been reached.
The 13 low cost homes will now be ‘pepper potted’ in and among the 110-house estate on land next to Ashbrow school.
The council had demanded the affordable homes were built first, in a bid to fast track the availability of low cost housing.
But the new plan to spread them out means only seven will be built in the first phase of the development.
The remaining six will be built in phase two.
Councillors unanimously approved of the revised plan.
Clr Paul Kane, standing in as chair of the committee, said: “It’s nice to see they’ve listened to the committee and they’ve spread out the affordable housing across all of the site.
“We’ve also got an extra three bed home instead of a two bed.”
Clr Carole Pattison added: “We deferred this because of what seemed like ghettoisation of the affordable homes so I’m glad to see we’ve got a new scheme and an extra three bed out of it.”
Senior councillors agreed more than five years ago that the large site between the rear of Asda and Ashbrow Road could be used to boost housing numbers and get new social flats for the elderly.
They agreed to sell most of the land and use the cash to subsidise a council run ‘extra care’ facility.
Extra care housing is a key focus of the council’s social care plan as it helps older people maintain their independence and reduces social isolation.
The new facility, to be managed by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, will have 50 apartments – 45, one bed and five two bed.