Developers of new housing estates in Penistone and other parts of Barnsley are ready to ensure more of the homes are affordable, the Cabinet member responsible for development told Barnsley Council.

Coun Roy Miller was replying to claims that insufficient low-cost homes were developed in the Penistone area.

He said current council policy was for 25pc of homes to be affordable and plans are to increase that to 30pc.

Tory leader John Wilson, who represents Penistone East Ward, said: “We are barely achieving a fraction of that in any development. Our strategy gives developers a ‘get out of the jungle free’ card where they can come up with a business plan which goes against our policy.

“We should all be concerned that developers can come along and justify, in some cases, no affordable housing.”

And Penistone Area Council Chair Robert Barnard said many members of the public had raised similar concerns. “We have a policy of 25-30pc but we’re not getting it. In one recent development the applicant said they proposed 10pc.

“There is a problem with the lack of affordable housing in that it prevents people living in the area staying in the area to get on to the housing ladder. It is also a problem for people already living in large houses who want to move to a smaller one and find they can’t get a suitable property in the same place.”

Independent councillor Gill Carr, who represents Worsbrough, said there was also a need for bungalows for older people who wanted to move out of large houses.

Coun Miller said officers were sure they would be able to achieve the 30pc target in new growth areas.

“We have more and more contractors who are coming in who want to achieve these targets.”

Earlier, Coun Miller said council policy was that money paid by developers for community improvements could be spent anywhere in the borough – not just in the area where development is taking place.