Bid for affordable housing to be removed from Netteswell Hall development successful
Planning / Sat 16th Jul 2022 am31 11:18am
PROPERTY developers have succeeded in having an affordable housing removed from a planning application.
The application by Mrs J Ghadami for twenty dwellings in Netteswell Hall off Park Lane was approved back in April 2021.
However, the application was back in front of the Harlow Council planning committee as the applicants believed that the delivery of six units of social housing was going to be difficult. Therefore, they applied to make a financial contribution of £180,000.
The application was approved.
Film of the application is below.
How does £180k pay for 6 units??
The Council spends thousands of hours, a Planning Inspector holds public examination hearings and eventually in December 2020 the Council agrees to a Local Plan which says that there is a need for 30% of homes being built in the town to be 'affordable'. But almost every time the developer, having got Planning Permission, cries crocodile tears that to provide such homes would be 'difficult'. The Council then take a pitiful sum of money from the developer to let them off providing affordable homes. All developers taking this approach should have the Planning Permission rescinded and told to come back with a scheme that does provide affordable housing. What we need is affordable homes not a small pot of money that would not even build one.
You gotta love the word “affordable”. It means so many different things to so many people.
So when building a house, what makes it easy to build a private house but difficult to build an affordable one. I can understand that the level of internal fittings has an impact on cost but surely the bricks and mortar and land costs are the same for similar size houses whether private or affordable. Or is the answer really that having private homes mixed in with council home reduces their potential selling prices
Oh dear, the Ghadami family have got the council eating bread and water again. Instead of dropping the affordable element the council should have increased it to 50%. All this talk of providing housing for those on the housing needs register by this council is undermined by this decision. Did Cllr. Swords oppose the decision? If not why not?
Mr Gary Roberts, Cllr Swords does not sit on the Development Committee so your question is superfluous.
Never mind cllr. Leppard. Perhaps you can answer the question? Or any cllr dealing with development. Maybe the leader of the council? It's not that difficult is it? Did the council support the decision?
Never mind cllr. Leppard. Perhaps you can answer the question? Or any cllr dealing with development. Maybe the leader of the council? It's not that difficult is it? Did the council support the decision? If it did why?
Spot on Gary 50 % affordable but add 25% social housing. The planning system is broken and simply fills the pockets of speculative property developers.
£180,000 - this is a joke, right?
The Development Committee sits in a quasi judicial capacity. It is not based on political party lines. Both Labour and Conservative members must follow guidance from the Planning and Legal officers. Projects can be rejected or conditioned on Material grounds as defined within Planning Law. Simply ‘not liking’ a project is not a reason and rejecting an application on grounds that are not material would result in the Council losing on appeal and incur significant legal costs at taxpayer expense. A number of questions were raised by members from both parties regarding this development, but under advice from officers were that these were not material grounds for rejection. The provision for affordable housing (rents being 80% of market rental rates or equivalent joint purchase schemes) are often very difficult to implement in small developments such as this. If conditions are so demanding, well the prospective developer will simply desist and invest elsewhere.
There are two key facts in this matter. Firstly there is a Local Plan in place which requires developers to provide 30% of the homes they build to be affordable, because it is determined there is a need for such homes in this district. Secondly this applicant like others in the past get Planning Permission for a scheme and then seek to buy their way out of the obligation to provide affordable homes. The land is of course worth a great deal more now that permission to build has been given and like so many sites, could be sold on to another developer for a big fat profit (the former Square site is an example of such practices). If the obligation to build affordable homes is bought out the land is worth even more. This is why land all around the country which already has Planning Permission stands empty for years, indeed sometimes decades,. These are what is known as land banks, held vacant to satisfy shareholders of the long term future of house building firms. In this case James I would bet you £10 this land gets sold on to another property developer. As for investing elsewhere, well not in this case as it is a prime site close to the Town Centre.
By the way James, any news from Cllr Swords about my post that the town is already providing more homes than required by Government? I suspect it is because you have found me to be right and as usual most Councillors do not respond when being questioned!
Nicolas Taylor, I did pass your message on.
James, I felt sure you would have. Just to give you a heads up as it were, at the time of the Local Plan examinations the Council reported that the number of homes in the pipeline was 1664 more than required by Government. Due to the hard work of the Harlow Alliance Party, the Planning Inspector agreed with our case that six sites should be removed from the Plan and indeed took out another one, reducing the number by 201. Since then additional sites have come forward including next to Terminus House 150, Purford Green School 35, 144 more than originally planned in Newhall, 103 more than originally planned for the former Pearson site, a new block behind Market House 33, Wych Elm 122, Kitson Way car park 49 and this application 20, to name just a few. Expanding the town does nothing to solve the problem, EFDC does not own land in the Green Belt and indeed has a large council house building programme to house the thousands on it's waiting list.
Gary Roberts has proved my point about "halfwit Momentum members". Mr Roberts failure to do basic research sadly obscures his more sensible remark about increasing the proportion of affordable housing instead of rolling over and playing dead.
David Forman the person that always deals in faint praise before letting himself down with irrelevant comments about my perceived political views. And sadly making them when such an important issue such as affordable/social housing is being discussed. Very sad not for him but for the thousands still needing housing in this town. Never mind!