Missing undertaking scuppers retirement housing

Fifty-five retirement apartments in a Kent town centre were rejected by an inspector because the scheme contravened affordable housing and infrastructure requirements.

The main issues concerned highway safety, particularly the layout of the access, and the absence of a planning obligation securing financial contributions towards affordable housing and infrastructure. Following submission of a revised access layout with the appeal, the inspector was satisfied there would be no harm to highway safety.  

The appellant did not dispute the requirement for fourteen affordable units but considered that for management purposes these had to be in a single block, which was not feasible given site constraints. They offered a financial contribution of £225,000 towards the provision of off-site affordable housing instead. The inspector considered this reduced provision would be reasonable given the site constraints and because the scheme, by its very nature, would be addressing a specific housing need. The appellant also agreed to make financial contributions towards local health care and open space. However, a planning obligation in the form of either an agreement or undertaking had not been provided despite the inspector requesting an update on this matter. Rejecting the alternative of a negatively worded condition as contrary to PPG advice, the inspector had no choice but to find the scheme did not accord with the development plan and dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Graham Chamberlain; Written representations

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