Planning Inspector Backs Cotswold Homes Policy

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Planning Inspector Backs Cotswold Homes Policy

Support for Cotswold District Council's policy on affordable homes on private developments has been voiced by the Planning Inspectorate.

The inspector has dismissed an appeal against the Council's refusal of an application from Cala Homes to build 41 apartments at Station Garage, Station Road, Moreton-in-Marsh.

Inspector Ken Barton agreed with the Council that the developer's proposal for only 10 per cent of the homes to be affordable was not acceptable.

The Council's replacement Local Plan, approved on April 25, requires up to 50 per cent of homes built by private developers to be affordable, to help meet the growing demand for low-cost homes either to rent or to buy in the District.

Cala Homes had claimed the financial viability of the scheme would be compromised by the provision of additional affordable housing.

But Mr Barton made it clear that 'the likely need to make appropriate provision for affordable housing should have been reflected in any assessment of the worth of the land'.

He concluded his report by stating 'in my view there is reasonable scope to seek to achieve a level of affordable housing that would more appropriately reflect the characteristics of this site and its potential contribution towards meeting the needs of the area.'

Cllr Carole Topple, the Council's Portfolio holder for Corporate Planning, said: “This is an important decision as it's the first appeal we have defended on these grounds. We are very pleased the Inspector has endorsed our policy, which is vital for us to achieve one of our top priorities of helping local people to live in their own communities.

“We would like developers to aim high so that up to 50 per cent of new housing developments are much-needed affordable homes in our District, where average house prices have reached £280,000.”

The loss of direct Government funding to help councils build affordable homes and restrictions on new development in rural areas means the Council cannot build enough homes to meet the shortfall.

However, the Council is working with housing associations to provide as many affordable homes to rent and buy as it can and plans to complete nearly 60 affordable new homes during 2006/07 in locations including Cirencester, Colesbourne, Moreton-in-Marsh, Kemble and Lechlade. Each property will in the first instance be offered to households on the housing register that have a local connection to the relevant parish.

Posted : 26/04/2006 11:54:56

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