Affordable housing provision disputed based on development viability

After closely examining a range of matters which impinged on the provision of affordable housing in Dorset an inspector decided that the appellants should provide 21 units as opposed to the 12 which were on offer.

The scheme involved a total of 70 units but the appellants initially maintained that only four affordable units could be provided as opposed to 28 sought by the council. The appellants subsequently argued, having regard to land purchase, development and build costs, resale values for the open market units and affordable housing, contingencies, and developer’s profit that a maximum of 12 units (17 per cent) could be supported. The council, supported by the district valuer, claimed that 40 per cent was achievable.

The inspector undertook a systematic review of each of the various inputs in the various viability assessments. He decided that the development costs, landowner’s return and developer's profit should all be reduced relative to that suggested by the appellants and the gross development value should be increased. A reduction in professional fees and finance costs should also be made. On this basis the development could viably support 21 affordable dwellings, equating to 30 per cent and comprising a mixture of one, two and three bedroom flats and dwellings. The appeal was allowed on this basis.

Inspector: Robert Mellor; Hearing


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