CASEBOOK: Appeal Cases; Housing, new build - Control over occupation of homes held inadequate

A proposal for eight cottages for occupation by people over 55 years of age in Hertfordshire has been judged unacceptable because a legal agreement failed to ensure that the homes were occupied only by elderly residents.

The inspector observed that a planning obligation proposed by the developer required only that one of the residents should be over 55, which meant that a younger couple could comply with its terms if they had an elderly resident living with them. He also noted that there was no mechanism for ensuring that the needs of elderly residents were met because the dwellings could be occupied by anybody over the age of 55.

The inspector concluded that the scheme did not involve meeting a proven need among elderly people, since their occupation was not proposed to be controlled by a housing association and no financial subsidy was involved.

The homes could be occupied by elderly people selling much larger houses and trading down, he noted. The fact that such people would not be in housing need reinforced his view that permission should be refused.

DCS No: 34699141; Inspector: Dennis Howard; Hearing.

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