Inspector rejects bid to modify affordable housing requirement on south London development

Out-Law News | 28 Apr 2014 | 3:00 pm |

A modification to a planning obligation for a housing development in Croydon requiring affordable housing or a financial contribution in lieu was not justified because it had not been shown that the obligation made the development unviable, a planning inspector has concluded.

The developers behind a 14-home scheme in South Norwood had applied to the London Borough of Croydon to modify a planning obligation attached to the permission for the development requiring either provision of 50% affordable housing or a financial contribution. The Council rejected the application and the developers subsequently lodged an appeal.

The inspector said in her decision notice (5-page / 93KB PDF) that it had not been "adequately demonstrated on the available evidence" that a viable scheme would not proceed in accordance with the planning permission and including the full financial contribution towards off-site affordable housing provision.

She said that it was agreed between the parties that provision of on-site affordable housing would not be viable. However she said that, based on figures put forward by the Council, the full contribution for off-site affordable housing could be made.

"It would only take a very small reduction in the developer’s profit to achieve the full level of contribution," the inspector said. She concluded that a modification to the planning obligation would not be justified.

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.