Land value debated in reduced affordable housing provision

An inspector preferred the approach adopted by an appellant to assessing the benchmark land value of a site in north Wales and accordingly granted permission for 58 houses with a reduced level of affordable housing provision.

Compiling viability assessments was problematic, the inspector acknowledged, but the main parties agreed that there was a difference of £50,000 in the land value. This was relatively modest against a total development value of over £8m. The developer had agreed to an 18 per cent return on investment and in the inspector's opinion this meant that the developer’s approach to assessing the land value, after taking into account abnormal development costs, was to be preferred.

The impact on a colony of great crested newts would be mitigated through the use of physical barriers during construction and buffer landscaping works. A section 106 obligation provided a financial contribution towards the provision of alternative migration land or improvements to existing habitats. Additionally, the planned access had been assessed by the highway authority and external consultants and judged to be acceptable, the inspector noting that this objection had been raised by the council contrary to the advice of its planning officer.

Inspector: Hywel Wyn Jones; Hearing

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