not a member? Join
A developer has applied for permission to remove the requirement for 50 percent affordable homes in the proposed Alston Gate project, Malborough.
Freemantle Capital Partners (Malborough) Limited has made an application, via Stokes Morgan, for “removal of the affordable housing obligation” due to “substantial financial viability issues associated with the approved scheme”.
The project, which is for 16 houses, has a section 106 requirement that 50 per cent of those houses need to be “affordable”, but the application to remove that requirement states: “Having completed the detailed design and tendered the build contract, the prices (build costs) that have been identified unfortunately render the scheme financially unviable with the provision of 50 per cent affordable housing.
“The site can only be developed for the 16 houses approved if the affordable housing requirement is removed.”
With affordable housing being a really important issue in the South Hams, with the backdrop of ever-increasing house prices, ever-reducing housing stock for local people due to holiday homes,the stagnation of normal local wages and a desperate need for social housing, the removal of the requirement to have eight affordable houses in a popular working village has been met with anger and frustration from the people of Malborough.
The application was originally considered to be a “rural exception site” as it was located outside of the then development boundary for Malborough and was offering 50 percent affordable housing. Cllr Judy Pearce, South Hams Councillor for Malborough said that “had it not been for the 50 per cent affordable housing, it would have been unlikely to have gained planning permission, so you can see that the affordable housing question goes right to the heart of the matter”.
The application document goes on to say that “the Malborough Neighbourhood Plan [has] factored in the approval for 16 dwellings on this site. Failure to deliver any housing on this committed housing site will have greater social and economic implications than delivering 16 dwellings without any social housing provision”.
Kathy Harrod posted in the Malborough Facebook group to bring this situation to the public eye, and added: “Oh and just in case you're interested the application for all 16 properties was given approval BEFORE the neighbourhood plan was approved - this means no principal residence clause will be implemented on any of the properties if this change is allowed.”
House prices in the South Hams have always been high, especially in relation to the level of wages that local people earn, but since the pandemic, prices have skyrocketed. According to Rightmove, the average house price in the area is now £440,252, which, over the last year, were 20 percent up on the previous year and 21 percent up on the 2018 peak of £364,693.
The average wage in the South Hams is £30,500, and is much lower for seasonal and hospitality workers, but that still means the average house costs more than 14 times the average salary and most local people see home ownership as completely out of their reach, with many currently struggling to find rental accommodation.
If you would like to view or comment on the application to withdraw the affordable housing requirements, you can follow this link: apps.southhams.gov.uk/PlanningSearchMVC/AlstonGate
The decision is expected to be made by Wednesday, 18 August 2021.
IMAGE: Google Maps near the proposed site just outside Malborough
Would you like to feature your business in this section?
* The information contained on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, if you notice anything that you know to be incorrect or misleading, please contact us.