A developer’s bid to reduce the number of affordable apartments in a new housing development has come under fire from one of the area’s councillors.
Martin Homes Whitehawk Way Ltd has asked Brighton and Hove City Council to approve reducing the number of apartments in a five-storey building on a former NHS hospital site from 15 to 10, with the company paying £56,664 to the council instead.
When it received planning permission in 2017, the agreement signed the following year stipulated that 40 per cent, 15, of the 38 apartments would be made available as “affordable” housing, with eight for rent and seven for co-ownership.
Councilors are being asked to grant an amendment to the agreement, known as Section 106, to accommodate the “commuted sum” and less affordable housing at the former Whitehawk Clinic on Whitehawk Road when the Planning Committee meets today.
East Brighton Labor Councilor Gill Williams has opposed the move to amend the agreement.
She said: “It is extremely disappointing to see that a developer again fails to deliver on its promise to provide 40 per cent affordable housing.
“This is extremely alarming, especially in an area in dire need of affordable housing.
“The profitability report that the developer relied on should not be accepted. It should be rejected.
“Also, it is questionable whether the £56,664 sum could in any way compensate for the loss of housing, which could benefit local people immeasurably.
“The Whitehawk area, and indeed the entire city, is in the midst of a housing crisis. We must and should do everything we can to create more affordable housing, not less.”
A report to the committee states that a viability assessment carried out for the developer indicated that eight affordable homes could be provided on site.
The District Valuer Service reviewed the valuation and confirmed that ten units could be provided on site, plus the £56,664 contribution.
A legal agreement would allow for a review mechanism with updates on profitability as council policy is that 40 per cent of new housing in a development should be ‘affordable’. The report states: “They have also requested a clause that would allow a bartered sum to be provided in lieu of affordable local housing if a registered provider cannot be found to take over the units.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23094933.developer-backtracks-affordable-homes-whitehawk-clinic/?ref=rss Developers return at affordable housing at Whitehawk Clinic