Ambiguous term

SIR - Affordable Housing.........or is it subsidised, or free?

I was interested in your lead article on the new Stowford Rise development in this week’s Herald, but somewhat confused by the terminology.

The article said that “two-thirds of the 133 properties being built at the site have been supported by major investment of �4.5 million pounds from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency”.

The phrase ‘affordable housing’ was used five times, but I am puzzled by this. I had always thought that it meant low-cost housing, for local working people; keen to get their first foot on the housing ladder (some of which could be available for shared ownership purchase).

It seems that the term ‘affordable’ at Stowford Rise is ambiguous. Should not the terminology include the words ‘subsidised’ or ‘free’ housing? As illustrated by the young, unemployed, single mother interviewed and her similarly young, unemployed, co-habitee (understandably “delighted with their rented home”).

I am perplexed by your use of the word “rented”. I always thought “rented” meant working for a living and paying money in rent to a landlord. Having the rent paid by Housing Benefit (completely paid for by taxpayers) is neither ‘affordable’ nor even ‘subsidised housing’; it is ‘free housing’.

We should not confuse ‘affordable’ with ‘subsidised’ or ‘free’. I, certainly, would want to see a transparent distinction before I gave my support to the further destruction of any more of our lovely area of Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty.

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It would be appalling if this misleading phrase with worthwhile intentions is further used by well-meaning philanthropists (“passionate about affordable housing”) to manipulate the planning system through emotive, but falsely described promises.

C Clarke

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