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Campaigners worry Lock's Hill development will be left with no affordable housing - developer insists its just "an option"

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Campaigners worry Lock's Hill development will be left with no affordable housing - developer insists its just "an option"

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Members of the Save Lock's Hill group have found a paragraph in a planning document that they say points to the developer pulling out of providing affordable housing on the site, but the developer has said it is just "an option". 

A planning statement for section 73 application which is dated on the South Hams Planning website as dated 3 December, states under affordable housing: 

"Blakesley Estates has held discussions with the Council’s Senior Specialist – Affordable Housing. It is Blakesley Estates’ intention to make a commensurate financial contribution for off-site provision of affordable housing instead of making direct on-site provision. It is understood that the Council’s officer is open to this approach."

Dan Stathers, founder of the campaign group Save Lock's Hill said: "First the developers ignore the pre-commencement conditions and now they're trying to change them. These appear to be wholesale changes not variations. A project that was first presented to the people of Kingsbridge as 50% affordable could be reduced to 0%. It's all starting to look very calculated."

Kingsbridge Town Council already removed their support for the project when the affordable housing contribution dropped to just 12 per cent - falling a long way short of the council’s 55 per cent target for affordable homes.

John Freeland, Blakesley Estates, however said that the provision had not been removed. He said: "We haven't applied to have the affordable housing removed.

"As part of our Section 73 (S73) application to SHDC to: Move the houses away from the existing boundary trees, to avoid felling them (felling approved with the previous H2 land scheme), and improve the design of the houses from the consented scheme, we have to demonstrate the financial viability of the new S73 scheme as part of the application to SHDC.

"This exercise includes as assessment of the four affordable houses that were previously consented. 

"We're pleased therefore to confirm that we are not removing the four previously approved affordable houses from the new improved S73 scheme for the site."

When we pointed to the paragraph in the planning statement, Mr Freeland said: 

"The application doesn't remove the affordable housing, which is still within the scheme.

"SHDC have previously stated to us that they would consider an off-site contribution to provide the affordable units elsewhere, rather than 4 houses on site. The planning statement merely confirms that option."

We asked Mr Freeland if Blakesley Estates considered an offsite contribution to be their preferred option, rather than building the affordable housing, and he said "It would depend on the level of contribution that the council requires". 

 

Follow our previous coverage of Lock's Hill and the current development by reading our previous articles: 

Group started to try to save Lock's Hill from development

SHDC orders work to stop at Lock's Hill

Work continues at Lock's Hill, despite stop notice

 

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