Developer applies to remove affordable housing requirements on Gloucestershire schemes

Out-Law News | 22 Apr 2014 | 2:44 pm | 1 min. read

Landowner Robert Hitchins Ltd has submitted an appeal to remove obligations to provide affordable housing as part of two schemes comprising more than 1,000 homes in Lydney, Gloucestershire. ugh-wide CIL rate of £135 per sq m. A rate of £25 per sq m will apply to all other retail uses as well as assembly and leisure development and 'sui generis' uses akin to retail or leisure.

The two consented schemes are subject to Section 106 agreements requiring the developer to provide 20% and 30% respectively of the new homes as affordable.

Robert Hitchins has lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) under provisions introduced by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. The provisions allow for applications to be made to vary affordable housing requirement contained in a planning obligation if those requirements make the scheme unviable.

According to a report laid before Forest of Dean District Council's planning committee (192-page / 7.52MB PDF), the owner said that, if the affordable housing obligation is removed, it will commit to "commence the development which will significantly boost housing supply providing a substantial element of the five year housing supply identified by the Council".

The Council's planning officers said in the report that the schemes could support an element of affordable housing, although lower than approved, and remain viable.

"Independent advice has been undertaken from the District Valuer who does not support the applicant's view that a 100% private scheme gives the minimum acceptable residual land value and is the minimum necessary to incentivise a landowner to develop the site," the report said.

The officers said they agreed that the approved affordable housing requirements made the scheme unviable. However, they said that because the application was to remove the obligation rather than vary it, they would have recommended the application for refusal if the Council was determining it.

PINS has not yet listed a target date for determination of the appeal.