300 new homes approved at £48m Carrow Quarter scheme - and more than 200 could be affordable

An earlier artist's impression of the Carrow Quarter. The designs have been through some changes sin

An earlier artist's impression of the Carrow Quarter. The designs have been through some changes since. Pic: Broadland Housing Association. - Credit: Broadland Housing Association

More than 200 affordable homes could be delivered at a new development at Carrow Quarter despite none being financially viable for the developer in one block of flats.

Norwich City Council's planning committee approved a £48m project for more than 300 homes in the area on Thursday - 250 at Carrow Quay next to the apartments at Geoffrey Watling Way, which has had outline permission since 2012, and a further 73 flats to the north, called Carrow View.

While councillors described the Carrow View flats as 'bleak' and 'horrible' both schemes were approved unanimously.

Labour's Mike Sands, for Bowthorpe, said: 'I could not envisage myself living there under any circumstances.'

Broadland Housing Association, who has brought forward the project, told the committee a viability assessment has been prepared for the 73 flats at Carrow View which showed no affordable homes would financially viable. Despite this they have offered at least 11 affordable homes at Carrow View and 83 at Carrow Quay.

They will seek funding from Homes England to provide a total of 230 affordable homes across both sites.

In a statement to committee they said: 'This position is a quirk in the funding system, whereby Homes England will not fund affordable housing which is provided through a Section 106 agreement, but will fund affordable housing which is delivered through what otherwise would be market accommodation.'

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Councillors welcomed the ambition for 66pc affordable housing, double the policy requirement, but had a note of caution.

Liberal Democrat James Wright, for Eaton, said: 'I think there is a perverse logic around the fact that Broadland aren't able to settle the amount of affordable housing they intend to provide on this site. We have to take a certain amount of that on trust, but as the old saying goes, fool me once.

'This provides much needed housing on a brown field site in desperate need of regeneration.'

Green Simeon Jackson, for Mancroft, added: 'If their business model shows they can put 60pc affordable housing I really support that approach. There is obviously a mess that has come about because of the way the national government has been changing rules and there is no coherent way to make sure we get the level of affordable housing we need.'

Labour's Hugo Malik, for Nelson, said the affordable housing ambition was 'refreshing'.

'We do need to have access to viability assessments in future and really dig down into the figures developers are basing these assessments on,' he said.

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