BUILDER Skipton Properties should be allowed to finish its Elsey Croft housing estate without including a single affordable home, a public inquiry has been told.

Original planning consent for the around hundred home edge of Skipton estate included 40 per cent low cost properties, but the house builder wants to build none at all - or at the very least cut the numbers by half.

Some of the larger affordable homes - planned to be managed by Yorkshire Housing - have been built, but despite having wheelie bins outside, they remain unoccupied.

Potential tenants are however still being invited to apply for one of the originally planned one to three bedroom properties on the affordable home section of CDC's website, described as 'under construction'.

Meanwhile, on its website, Skipton Properties says the last of the four bedroom detached homes on the estate, priced at £490,000, has been sold.

At the first day into the five day public inquiry, into Skipton Properties appeal against Craven District Council's refusal to allow it to vary the affordable housing condition, Geoffrey Jones QC, for the Cross Hills based builder, said the council had neither a saved policy covering affordable housing or a current local plan and it could not demonstrate a five year housing supply.

The authority's local plan timetable had been 'allowed to slip' and was last projected to be completed more than a year away, he said.

"As far as we are aware, the pre publication consultation is not yet started. We are barely out of the starting blocks," he said.

He said although the position of Skipton Properties was now not to provide any affordable homes at the site, it had been willing to negotiate and to build 20 per cent, but that the council had turned it down.

"If no affordable housing is provided, there will be no adverse impacts because the need for market housing is substantial," he said.

Barrister, Clare Parry, for the council, said the authority was clear in its requirement for 40 per cent affordable homes and called on inspector, Anne Jordan to dismiss the appeal.

Ms Parry said it was a 'highly unusual' appeal because virtually all of the market housing and some of the affordable housing had already been built.

It was also unusual in that the council did not have a saved affordable housing policy and that an interim document the council had been relying on had recently been quashed - following an appeal by Skipton Properties.

"That, so far as the council is aware, is uniquely a policy vacuum in relation to affordable housing," she said.

Ms Parry argued that the government inspector who had granted permission for the development in 2012 had said 40 per cent should be affordable to make the scheme acceptable.

She said there was a clear need for affordable homes and the development would not be sustainable without them.

Ms Jordan, a chartered town planner, told the inquiry she would be visiting the site before coming to her decision. She would also reserve the right to award costs at the end of the inquiry, even of both parties indicated they would not be applying for costs of the appeal.

The inquiry is due to resume for another three days on July 31, August 1 and August 2, at the council offices in Belle Vue Square, Skipton.