Obligation dropped after scheme makes loss

An inspector has lifted a planning obligation requiring the developer of 20 flats in north Wales to make a payment towards affordable housing and public open space, finding little prospect of the money being paid.

The appellants did not challenge the council's evidence of a high need for affordable housing and pressure on existing open space in the town. But they asserted that the development had made a substantial loss due to the site being purchased at the height of the housing boom and a subsequent dramatic fall in property values. The council accepted the appellants' financial information but maintained that there was a reasonable prospect of obtaining the sums due.

The inspector noted that the council could pursue a claim for breach of contract. However, he accepted that the limited value of the asset would dissuade prospective purchasers, resulting in a stalemate that would benefit no-one. As he saw no real prospect of the council recovering the sums due, he concluded that the obligation no longer served a useful purpose.

Inspector: Emyr Jones; Hearing

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