I am always cautious about talking about planning matters – if you only upset 50% of people you lucky! Particularly when I say that I don’t have as strong an objection as a lot of my colleagues on the council do to flats – there is a reason flats are popular for developers… there is a demand for them! They’d soon start building bigger houses if they couldn’t sell their flats.
However, one of the requirements (for developments that are 10 or more dwellings in size) is the requirement to provide a proportion of affordable housing. This is usually between 20-30% (depending on the number of properties). This doesn’t mean the developer has to build them for free – they just have to provide social housing and sell them at a cheaper level (often to a housing association), so recouping their costs, but not making a profit on those few.
Now the Government has made it easier for developers to argue that it is not economically viable to provide such social housing in a project and for them to renegotiate on the agreements they have for developments.
I’m not quite sure that this argument can be made for some of the rather nice properties that are being built in Blenheim or Leigh – perhaps up north where properties can’t command such a premium, but developers seem to be pushing their luck in Southend.
Two applications have recently been made:
13/01713/S106BA 845-849 London Road (current agreement requires 1 one bed flat, 2 two bed flats and 1 three bed flat as affordable housing)
13/01718/S106BA 53 Pavilion Drive (current agreement requires 2 two bed flats as affordable housing)
Both of these applications are to remove the entire requirement for social housing. I have objected to this and asked for the matter to go before the Development Control Committee for review.
I am all for developers making a profit – it is business after all. But they should do their bit, as they previously agreed and not continually try to renege on agreements. Things don’t change that much in a couple of years, and property prices are hardly in free-fall at the moment…