DC Casebook: Mixed Use Development - Housing need upheld despite downturn

The secretary of state has refused permission for 750 dwellings and a school in Gloucestershire after finding that the scheme does not make sufficient provision for affordable housing, community facilities or public open space.

The case involved a major housing site of strategic importance and represented the main opportunity to achieve affordable housing in the district. The applicants proposed that 13 per cent of homes in the development would be affordable. Having regard to a strategic housing market assessment, the inspector found that a 40 per cent affordable target was neither unrealistic nor unreasonable as a starting point for negotiations.

She considered evidence of current reductions in rental levels and mortgage interest rates insufficient to support the view that they must necessarily reduce levels of housing need. Neither did she agree that these factors represented an increase in ability to pay for market housing to a point at which the proportion of affordable or social rented housing could be reduced.

The secretary of state agreed with the inspector's conclusions on these matters. In the context of the lengthy timescale for the development, he suggested that the downturn in the housing market resulting from the credit crunch could be regarded as a relatively short-term element.

DCS Number 100-064-561

Inspector Susan Holland; Inquiry

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