Developer to fight commitments to build new affordable homes
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development, Local Government
Norwich to embark on new era of council house building
A developer has announced that it must abandon commitments it made to build new affordable housing alongside a number of construction schemes.
Sandhurst New Homes says it will scrap plans to build 100 flats across four sites in Essex if it can't renege on the section 106 agreements it signed up to when it originally applied for permission.
The developer has claimed that it is no longer economically viable for it to build the affordable housing, and is attempting to use new legislation to escape its section 106 commitments.
However, local Conservative councillor James Courtenay has urged Sandhurst to reconsider its position, the Echo reported.
He said: “Section 106 agreements aren’t calling on them to build houses and give them away, they are often sold on to housing associations for affordable housing that people desperately need.
“House prices haven’t changed that much in the last couple of years, where I’m trying to call in two of the applications, and I hope the developer will think again.
“I think new government legislation on this has far less affect in the south east where the difference between building costs and house prices is much higher than in the north.”
But the developer's managing director, Brian Strickland, hit back at the councillor's claims. He said: “These councillors have no idea about business. The new legislation means that if they refuse or don’t make a decision within 28 days it goes straight to the secretary of state to decide.
“Southend Council has a policy of taking 20% of everything you want to build as affordable housing. That’s been superseded by the help to buy scheme which gives first time buyers 25% towards the cost of a home.
“It would be much better for the local economy, local builders and the housing situation to let us get these houses built, otherwise they’re going to be asking for 20% of nothing in terms of affordable homes.”