Saturday 18 February 2017

Knowle relocation project: and "sheer hypocrisy" >>> District Council planning officers reject the Green Close development over affordable housing and overage

The developer at Knowle made a huge fuss about not providing adequate 'overage' (giving the District Council a cut of any 'excess profit') 
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: deciding to sell >>> 'overage' and the dangers of selling Knowle short >>> one year on... and yet further reports
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: full Pegasus contract published >>> PRESS RELEASE

It also got its way over the status of the proposed development - as C2 rather than the C3 pushed for by planning officers - which would have given Sidmouth affordable housing:
Futures Forum: Knowle Relocation Project: How to classify the proposed development: as C3 housing or as C2 care home?
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project > Pegasus planning application 16/0872/MFUL >>> Strategy 4 - Balanced Communities >>> Strategy 34 - Affordable Housing Provision Targets

Planning officers were persuaded to drop the demand for affordables and the District Council refused to divulge details about overage - until the planning application was rejected:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: planning application REFUSED by District Council >>> further reports

We can compare this application to another at Green Close in Sidford:
16/0867/MFUL | Demolition of former residential care home and construction of 36 sheltered apartments including communal facilities, access, car parking and landscaping. | Green Close Drakes Avenue Sidford Sidmouth EX10 9JU

The application got a nice write-up in the press:
Green Close retirement apartment scheme a ‘golden opportunity’ to improve Sidford road safety - News - Sidmouth Herald

Interestingly, this development was rejected by District Council planning officers - on the grounds of there not being enough overage and no contribution to affordable housing.

A commentator has called this "Sheer hypocrisy".

It is understood that the developer will be going to appeal - and has cited lack of 'viability', which is standard catch-all, as covered many a time on this blog:
Futures Forum: When is a development 'viable' or not?
Futures Forum: "Viability assessments conclusively prove that we cannot rely on developers to build affordable housing."
Futures Forum: "Some developers use viability reports to wriggle out of building more 'affordable' housing."

This is from the planning officers' report:

Equally, whilst the submitted viability report has undergone considerable scrutiny and there is agreement with its main conclusions, in line with policy as set out in the relevant local plan strategy it is considered necessary that, in addition to securing the contribution that has been offered, the requisite legal agreement should also include an overage clause in respect of any future excess profits.

The applicants are not proposing to provide any affordable housing citing viability grounds, which is very disappointing. The Council's Development Enabling and Monitoring Officer will be reviewing the viability evidence submitted and will make her recommendation.

An overage clause will be sought in respect of future profits and affordable housing provision, where levels of affordable housing fall below policy targets.

Should it be found that the development could support affordable housing strategy 34 of the new Local Plan should apply, namely 50% (18 units) affordable housing should be provided on site.


APPROVE subject to the completion of a S106 agreement to secure the payment of a financial contribution of £41,208 towards affordable housing, with the inclusion of overage clauses, and the following planning conditions:

Development Management Cttee decision re 16/0867/MFUL - 1 November 2016

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