Affordable housing offer agreed given viability assessments

A registered social housing provider has secured permission for the erection of 45 dwellings on a site in north London after successfully arguing that only six units should be affordable.

The appellant made clear that the majority of the scheme would be available to private individuals in the open market. A viability assessment revealed that allowing a 20 per cent return on the gross development value generated a maximum affordable housing contribution of only six units. The council questioned whether the appellant should be seeking a competitive return since they were a registered provider of social and not open market housing.

n the inspector's opinion major registered providers of social housing also promoted predominantly private housing developments and accordingly there was no requirement for the appellant to demonstrate how the profits from the scheme would be re-used in promoting social housing. A 20 per cent return was not unreasonable and while the council questioned the benchmark valuation of the existing site which contained a hostel, the inspector held that it was broadly accurate.

A final issue relating to the potential impact of views on St Paul’s cathedral was also determined in favour of the appellant. The site did not lie within a sensitive viewing corridor and it would not impact on the appreciation of the cathedral from certain directions. Since the dwelling mix was also judged acceptable the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: Ron Boyd; Hearing

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