THE developer building on the site of the former Alveston House Hotel has been accused of 'watering down' the project's affordable housing requirement.

Plans for a 22-home cul-de-sac were approved last year, despite the objections of dozens of residents and the fact only two of the houses would be affordable.

Now, developer Prestige Homes Ltd has applied to alter the affordable housing obligation due to 'substantial financial viability issues'.

They are proposing to make an off-site affordable housing contribution of £200,000 or sell two of the houses at ‘First Homes’ which are 70 per cent of open market value.

First Homes are considered to meet the definition of affordable housing under the Government's new First Homes Scheme.

But the move has been criticised by Alveston Parish Council, who also opposed the original development.

They said in a statement: "The Alveston Parish Council Planning Committee strongly object to the modification of the planning agreement. "Affordable housing is much in demand and the original application was granted based on five affordable houses which was then subject to a reduction to two houses which was approved.

"Now this application is looking to deprive residents further by watering down the two remaining “affordable” homes to ‘First Time’ housing or the payment of £200,000 for the provision of offsite affordable housing.

"In business there is always a risk involved with any venture and it is unfortunate for the construction company that the modern climate has created a reduction in margins however this excuse is not a suitable reason to further break promises and obligations made during the planning process."

South Gloucestershire councillor Matthew Riddle, who represents the Severn Vale ward including Alveston, said: “I am very concerned about this attempt to further water down of the development’s Affordable Housing offering through the new viability report and have made representations to the council to oppose this.

"South Gloucestershire Council has an excellent record of delivering of affordable housing in our communities, having provided almost half of the total number for the West of England area in 2019/20, and I am keen to see this continue.”

When approached for comment a spokesperson for planning agent Stokes Morgan Planning said: "The applicant isn’t looking to remove the affordable housing contribution, he’s looking to alter it to reflect the Central Governments First Homes initiative introduced in May 2021."