Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 23, 2017

Meet The Housing Developers Who Can’t Afford Affordable Housing

The development of the Fine Janes Farm in Moss Road Halsall required the demolition of former egg production buildings and related infrastructure and erection of 59 dwellings and related development including improvement of existing access to site, internal access roads, amenity open space, landscaping, pumping station and boundary fencing.

On 15 March 2016 the developer Jones Homes jones submitted the proposal. As readers will know, the RS2 – Affordable and Specialist Housing – policy requires 35% of housing on sites of 15 dwellings or more to be affordable, which equates to 21 dwellings on the proposed development of 59 dwellings. Pre-application advice from the LPA and the Council’s Housing Strategy and Development Programme Manager (based on evidence of need) indicated a mix of social rent homes and bungalows and shared ownership houses. However, the viability assessment submitted with the application “demonstrates that the level of financial contributions and CIL payments which will be required, together with the abnormal costs of developing the site, will make the scheme unviable if any affordable housing is provided”.

A key issue is that the floor space of the extensive buildings on the site cannot be offset against the proposed new floor space in CIL calculations as the buildings have not been in lawful use for 6 months of the previous three years, as required by the CIL regulations. Therefore the development will need to bear the significant costs of demolishing the buildings and disposing of the materials (including asbestos) and remediating the site with no reflection of these costs in the CIL payment.

An exchange of emails with WLBC reports that “Viability might be closer to progressing? Have Keppie Massey acknowledged the GVA note forwarded via my mail of 16th Nov, and have they offered a response. We are of the firm belief they’ve moved the goalposts in terms of benchmark values and are therefore on thin ice with their continued efforts to salvage affordable housing on behalf of the Borough on this occasion. As a developer we very demonstrably subscribe to the affordable housing quota where and when it’s appropriate. That circumstance applies to the vast majority of our sites and on those occasions we do not frivolously contest. However, Fine Janes is a site that requires such enormous abnormal costs spending to facilitate its regeneration, it simply cannot afford ‘affordables’, and Keppie Massey shouldn’t be trying this hard to revisit /manipulate their own original guidance. They will genuinely frustrate the prospect of any redevelopment /regeneration if they continue to steer the LPA to insist on an affordable housing quota”.

 

Memo to developer “Best not wash your unaffordable dirty linen in public exchanges that end up as official documents”.


Responses

  1. Well spotted and reported! A developer not making enough profit?

    • A little nudge in the right direction is always helpful! The developer seems not to have costed his site requirements very well. It is easy to see though why we query just who IS the planning authority when such cases are happening.


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