Affordable housing omission and gravelled drives prevent greenfield housing

A housebuilder's claim that realising a 17.5 per cent profit margin on a development of up to 97 dwellings in south Yorkshire was unacceptable to its board of directors was rejected by an inspector who determined that it was realistic and would thereby enable the provision of some affordable dwellings.

200-006-955 (Image Credit: Barnsley MBC)
200-006-955 (Image Credit: Barnsley MBC)

In support of its argument that the provision of any affordable housing was unviable, the appellant stated that the company’s range of houses also included some which were relatively low cost and utilised the government’s help to buy money. Given the requirements to make financial payments towards off-site road improvements, improvements to a railway bridge, open space and education, the appellant asserted that even at a 17.5 per cent profit level there would be a net loss of almost £50,000.

The inspector heard evidence that the earlier phases of housebuilding on adjoining land had been successful and that there was a waiting list for the next phase of development. In his opinion little evidence had been presented to confirm that a minimum 20 per cent profit was the only acceptable solution. Land registry sales were the most appropriate basis for assessing likely sales values and having regard to the council’s viability assessment, 5 per cent of the units could be affordable with the additional financial contributions sought, he determined.

Regarding the proposed use of partly gravelled driveways, the inspector also sided with the council, concluding that they required more upkeep than a bitumen surface and encouraged weeds to grow. Over time gravel became dislodged and spilled onto the footpaths and highway. Residents were required to sweep stones back into position and while some might opt to do this on a regular basis, it could not be guaranteed. Therefore, gravel on the road would give rise to vehicles skidding and potential accidents and this would be compounded by more unsightly drives because of weed infestation and gravel spillage.

Inspector: Daniel Hartley; Hearing

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