THE scale of the lost opportunity brought by the forced removal by the anti-Premier Inn campaign of the St. David Peninsula Land Trust from the long-planned development of the Glasfryn Road site in St Davids for 70 units of social and affordable housing and a new swimming pool became clear on Saturday, November 2.

At a drop-in session in the City Hall held by Millbay Homes, the developer that replaced the CLT, the new scheme relating to the homes for sale currently being built on the site was exhibited for public viewing.

Ateb (formerly Pembrokeshire Housing Association), who are developing the 38 units of social housing for rent, which are yet to start, were not present.

The CLT plan had been to make 12 homes available for sale on the open market with the profit going towards match-funding the proposed swimming pool.

The remaining 20 homes were to be retained for sale to local people, in the first instance, as close to cost price as possible. Based upon construction cost analysis and land values, the prices calculated were in the region of £160,000 for a two-bedroom unit, £190,000 for a three bed-room unit and £250,000 for a four-bedroom unit. To enhance affordability the opportunity to purchase through shared ownership was also available.

The prices also considered evidence drawn from two public consultations which enabled the level of affordability of properties that would permit local people to remain in the community to be determined. The designs and construction methods of the units were duly fashioned accordingly in order to deliver this level of affordability.

A key condition of the purchase that would have been applied was that in the event of a future sale the property could only be sold back to the CLT at a price linked to the increase in average earnings, retaining in perpetuity its availability for local, affordable ownership.

At the drop-in session, however, it became clear that all 32 homes were to be made available for sale on the open market, exploiting to the full the premium associated with the housing market in St. Davids.

It is true to say that it was made clear at the drop-in session that local people would still have the first opportunity to reserve one of the properties for purchase when they became available in the new year. The harsh reality was, however, that a two-bedroom unit would now start at £200,000, a three-bedroom unit £230,000 and a four-bedroom unit £400,000.

In the circumstances it was no surprise to learn that few reservations were made on the day. The consequence of this is that this major addition of housing in St. Davids will make no contribution to the future sustainability of the community because our young people will never be able to acquire them. To be blunt, these are homes that we don’t need. Of the 3,000 dwellings in the peninsula at present, already 750 of them are either second homes or holiday lets.

I attach no blame to Millbay Homes, whose function in any event is to plough back profits into social housing through its association with Ateb.

What has been thrown up by the St. Davids experience, however, is that if there is ever to be a serious intent to provide affordable homes for local people to purchase in our county then it can only be done through local action employing Community Land Trusts.

To do this land must be allocated and ring-fenced for this specific purpose in the Local Development Plans of the future.

One can only hope that this will be the legacy of the ill-fated story of the St. Davids Peninsula Community Land Trust.


St Davids