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Number of affordable homes in development could be more than halved

PUBLISHED: 08:22 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:22 29 January 2019

A home builder is looking to slash the number of affordable houses in a development in Spooner Row. Picture: Paul Hewitt

A home builder is looking to slash the number of affordable houses in a development in Spooner Row. Picture: Paul Hewitt

A bid to more than halve the level of affordable housing provided with a residential development looks set to succeed.

Jack Hornby, Conservative councillor for Wymondham. Picture: Michelle FinchJack Hornby, Conservative councillor for Wymondham. Picture: Michelle Finch

When originally granted permission for a split development across Chapel Road and Bunwell Road in Spooner Row, J Alston and Sons Ltd committed to providing 13 affordable houses.

This figure equated to 33pc of the overall development and was judged by South Norfolk Council to be a sufficient contribution.

However, the company has now applied to reduce this number to just six, arguing the development would not be economically viable should they deliver the originally promised number.

A planning statement submitted with the application says: “The economic viability assessment concludes that even with a 0pc affordable housing, viability is only marginal. However, the applicant is committed to delivering some affordable housing within the village.”

It is also argued, that as the site is split across two separate sites, a number of the overheads would be doubled. The include the costs of sewage treatment plants and attenuation basins.

The applicant had suggested reducing the number of affordable homes to five, however, this has since been amended to six.

At the request of Jack Hornby, Conservative councillor for Wymondham, members of South Norfolk’s planning committee will decide whether to grant the reduction, with officers recommending they do.

However, Wymondham Town Council has argued that the applicant should be held to the original agreement.

Trevor Gurney, town clerk said: “This matter has been discussed by the council’s planning, lighting and highways committee who have recommended refusal.

“The original planning permission should be adhered to, including the agreed number of affordable homes.”

The application also received three objections from members of the public, one of which said it “flies in the face of the need for affordable housing”.

However, in her report to the committee, council officer Claire Curtis said: “Whilst the level of affordable housing provided is less than that set out in the joint core strategy, it is accepted that this development can not be made viable with the affordable housing provided at this level.”

The application will be decided by the planning committee on Wednesday, January 30.

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