The obligation related to a redevelopment for 46 flats, ten houses and 483 square metres of office floorspace. The original affordable housing element was for six social rented and three shared ownership homes making up a total of a 16 per cent affordable housing contribution. The proposed modification asked for nine shared ownership homes, still at 16 per cent. The inspector held the main issue was whether the original mix of homes was unviable and whether the proposed modification was reasonable and could be delivered to maintain scheme viability.
The inspector considered the viability aspects of the evidence, but commented on the lack of detailed assessments by both parties. The aspects of falling house prices since Brexit, build cost inflation and the value of social housing used in the assessment were looked at, but the inspector felt the arguments were finely balanced and ultimately ended up referring to the Ministerial Statement of November 2015, which emphasised the need to deliver affordable housing whatever its tenure type. This statement further stated that in requests for the renegotiation of planning obligations it was unlikely to be necessary to re-open discussions on viability assessments. Despite the inspector concluding the economic situation had not deteriorated significantly since the time of the original obligation, they reflected back to the statement and allowed the appeal.
Inspector: JS Nixon; Written Representations