I NOTICE that Matthew Laverack and others have taken up their pens again to berate the council in modifying its affordable housing requirements.

They are correct that the minor amendments will not galvanise the building industry into action. The challenge in York is immense. New homes completed last year numbered only 320, including 100 flats for students, by comparison with 1,160 homes five years ago. With 800 additional homes required each year, much more needs to be done.

The public should know there are outstanding planning permissions for more than 2,800 homes already given by the council. So what is stopping developers turning these approvals into homes?

Barratt Homes told the same meeting attended by Mr Laverack that up to 40 per cent of potential purchasers could not get a mortgage. Not that the proportion of affordable homes was a barrier to their building – indeed they were already on site.

But the council could do more in the future. Using its own land holdings and making such land available at less than the market price would act as a stimulant.

We need less of the nit-picking by Mr Laverack and friends and more vision and ambition by the council in partnership with the building industry.

Bob Towner, Hobgate, York.