MORE than 400 people have backed a petition calling on council planners to force developers to build affordable homes for York families.

York man Dan Taylor launched the petition after figures were uncovered showing that only five per cent of the new homes given planning permission in York in recent years have been affordable homes.

Out of 4,365 homes given planning permission since April 2012, council figures show that only 256 were affordable while more than five times that number - 1,458 - were student accommodation units.

Dan’s petition, which is live on asks the city council to change the way planning permission is given out, making it harder for developers to build scores of luxury flats or student blocks, and instead encourage them to focus on homes for low to medium earners, who he says make up a much larger proportion of the population.

On the petition site, Dan wrote: “Rents and house prices in York are amongst the highest in the North of England, and the council needs to address this by fixing the mix of accommodation approved.”

A freedom of information request also reveals that planners do not keep track of whether new homes are suitable for families or targeted at the “luxury market”, he added.

“There is a running joke amongst York residents, that when a new residential development is started ‘it’ll be either luxury flats or student accommodation’.”

If the petition is presented to the council, a spokesman confirmed it would be discussed by councillors. The authority’s assistant director of economy and place, Mike Slater, said the council had a 20 to 30 per cent target for affordable homes, depending on whether the building is taking place on brownfield or greenfield land, with more than 500 affordable homes built since 2012/13.

He added: “In addition, we have developed new council homes for rent at Pottery Lane and Fenwick Street, with more planned for other locations, and are looking to set up a new housing development company so we can build homes on land that we own.

“Off-campus, purpose-built student accommodation is very popular with students at universities across the UK, not just in York, and frees up family homes for sale or rent in the private sector.”