The scheme comprised 215 dwellings, theatre rehearsal space and small offices. A completed unilateral undertaking securing provision of affordable units, rent levels and future viability review mechanisms was provided to the inspector. All the proposed new dwellings would be made available for rent rather than for sale, a form of housing encouraged in the mayor of London’s SPG on housing and the emerging London Plan as supporting a market need.
Thirty-six of the units would be made affordable via a discounted market rent. This equated to 16.7 per cent of the total units, well below a policy target of 40 per cent. The inspector concluded that this was the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing that could be secured on the site. In reaching this view, he paid regard to viability evidence and took into account the level of discount on rent levels proposed, comprising 70 per cent at a local housing allowance level and the remaining 30 per cent at the mayor’s London Living Rent level. This position, he remarked, reflected advice in PPG that it should be possible to make trade-offs between the proportion of discounted units and the discount offered on them.
Overall, the inspector concluded that the car-free development would provide a well designed scheme that would significantly improve the street scene and the area’s character, as well as providing much-needed housing, community space and employment. Despite some local objections, he was satisfied that levels of daylight and sunlight enjoyed by occupants of surrounding properties and future occupiers of the proposed development would be acceptable.
Inspector: Kenneth Stone; Inquiry