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Inspector allows reduction of Lancashire scheme's affordable housing contribution

A planning inspector has allowed a reduction of the affordable housing contribution required on a 584-home scheme in Blackpool (7-page / 94KB PDF) after finding that the scheme would otherwise not be viable. 

Blackpool Borough Council had granted planning permission for the scheme to Kensington Developments Limited with an obligation to pay over £7 million towards the provision of affordable housing off-site. The developer applied to remove the obligation and lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after the Council failed to determine that application within the prescribed period.

The inspector said in his decision letter that a revised viability appraisal based on up to date figures showed that the affordable housing requirement of the existing planning obligation meant the development was not economically viable.

The inspector said he did not accept the application to remove the contribution entirely and that it should instead be modified in accordance with a suggestion by the developer and the Council.

"During the course of the appeal, both parties have come to accept an appraisal which demonstrates that their entire removal is more than is necessary to make the development viable and that a revised obligation reducing the total affordable housing payment to £5,070,000 would be adequate to make the development viable," he said.

The application and appeal were made 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.

The modified obligation will remain in place for a period of three years.

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