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Town council hits out at developer's proposal to slash affordable housing

PUBLISHED: 13:02 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 24 May 2019

Persimmon Homes has permission to build 100 homes off Westfield Road in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Persimmon Homes has permission to build 100 homes off Westfield Road in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A home builder looking to reduce its affordable housing contribution on an upcoming development has been accused of trying to "cherry-pick" council policies for its own advantage.

Persimmon Homes has applied to Breckland Council to slash the number of affordable homes it builds on a site in Dereham from 40 to 25 - citing the council's emerging local plan in support of this application.

The move has angered Dereham Town Council, which has accused the developer of attempting to exploit part of the local plan to maximise its own profits.

Town clerk Tony Needham said: "This application was given at appeal, at which the applicant did not suggest the 40pc housing was unviable.

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"It would seem Persimmon Homes is requesting the reduction the basis that the emerging local plan's policy states that 25pc of affordable housing should be required. What it seems to be trying to do is cherry-pick the most economically favourable policies from the plan as retaining all the most economically advantageous policies from the old plan."

Mr Needham added that should affordable housing provisions be considered against the new local plan, so should other parts of the application - including its transport, outdoor space and cycling provisions.

He added: "The applicant should either submit a new application or if they wish for one of the policies in the new local plan to apply, then all of them should."

The proposed development will see Persimmon build 100 homes off Westfield Road in Dereham.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Anglia said: "We are committed to delivering quality new homes for first time buyers and first time movers where they are most needed. Our proposals for Dereham are in accordance with Breckland's new local plan - due for adoption this summer - and would enable us to provide 25 affordable homes and 75 affordable open market homes for local people within three years."

Breckland Council's planning committee will consider whether to allow the allocation to be removed on Tuesday, May 29, with officers recommending it for approval. Case officer Fiona Hunter said: "The reduction in affordable housing does not affect the overall planning balance and its acceptability."

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