Saturday, 26 August 2017

Knowle relocation project: developers lose appeal for 'retirement development' in Sidford >>> Reason: "lack of affordable housing is a critical issue in East Devon"

Developers Churchill had hoped to build sheltered housing 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

This advertisement promising a 'peaceful retirement' is currently on their website:

Drakes Avenue | Churchill Retirement Homes in Devon

The District Council's planning committee approved the application, 'subject to S106 agreement':
Development Management Committee - Tuesday 1 November 2016

With the full recommendation here: 
Approval subject to conditions and the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement

The planning officers had insisted that the developer provide 50% affordable housing - which, as it was noted at the time, contrasted with their stance over another planning application:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and "sheer hypocrisy" >>> District Council planning officers reject the Green Close development over affordable housing and overage

Nevertheless, many found this still inadequate:
Plans for 36 apartments approved in Sidmouth - despite ‘insulting’ offer - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

The developer appealed against the decision:
Appeal case: app/u1105/w/17/3167556

Planning officers thought the game was up:
Futures Forum: District Council gives way in Sidford over affordable housing: “Under government guidance, we are required to reduce our requirements where a development is unviable and so we have no real choice but to accept this position.”

On Wednesday this week, the appeal decision found against the developer:


And looking at it in detail, it was all about affordable housing:


14. Applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The appellants have not made the case that the Council are unable to demonstrate a 5 year land supply of deliverable housing sites relative to needs, or by consequence that relevant policies for the supply of housing should be considered out-of-date."

15. Strategy 34 District Wide Affordable Housing Provision Targets' of the Local Plan establishes how the Council will seek to secure affordable housing delivery. Paragraph 16.25 supporting strategy 34 explains, on account of demographic and economic factors, that lack of affordable housing is a critical issue in East Devon'.

16. The appeal site falls outside of any area specifically listed in strategy 34 and therefore within an area to which the higher (50%) affordable housing targets apply. Strategy 34 subsequently explains that 50% of the dwellings proposed shall be affordable subject to viability considerations'. In my view as 50% affordable housing provision is expressed as a target, this target would not be met where viability considerations demonstrate that only a lower level of provision is feasible.

17. Strategy 34 further explains that where a proposal does not meet affordable housing provision targets it will be necessary to submit evidence to demonstrate why provision is not viable or otherwise appropriate. An overage clause will be sought in respect of future profits and affordable housing provision, where levels of affordable housing fall below policy targets'.

24. However, there is a substantial need for affordable housing in East Devon which exists at present. In my view the approach in strategy 34 related to overage is therefore equally grounded in today's circumstances in seeking to respond as fully as possible to current housing needs. This matter is brought into sharp focus by the £41,208.00 affordable housing contribution proposed falling far short of the 50% affordable housing target in strategy 34.

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

It is not clear how this will impact on the appeal to be heard with regard to the Knowle application - which is also for a 'retirement development':


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