Retirement scheme secured with reduced affordable payment

McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd have secured permission for a five-storey sheltered housing scheme within a Norfolk conservation area, an inspector agreeing that the design was acceptable and a reduced contribution towards affordable housing was justified.

The site had originally contained a commercial garage which had been demolished, and the proposed building would occupy most of the site. Although the building would be deeper than many others nearby it would respect the scale of most nearby buildings, the inspector held, and in her opinion the design would reinterpret existing historic forms in a modern way. In so concluding the inspector found no requirement for the scheme to include any shops to enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre since there was little demand for smaller units and future residents would in any event be able to access local facilities.

In relation to the council’s request that a commuted sum of £360,000 be paid to provide six off-site affordable units the inspector accepted the appellant’s claim based on a financial viability appraisal that only £30,700 was justified. Marketing costs at six per cent of the gross development value was not unreasonable, she decided, since sales rates averaged about one per month. A post-completion review of the total amount paid would not be reasonable because this would act as a serious disincentive to the development proceeding.

Inspector: Joanna Reid; Hearing

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