Plans to remove the requirement for affordable housing on a 103-strong development in Hastings could be agreed by the council on Thursday (December 15).
Developers want the homes at Station Plaza not to include 31 affordable units, or 30 per cent, as it would make it ‘not viable’ financially.
Hastings Borough Council planning officers recommend approving the proposal as government guidance says ‘paramount’ house building should not stalled.
Four objections have been made against the proposal with concerns raised about the loss of cheaper homes including from Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Perry who said it was ‘unacceptable’.
HBC gave developers John Laing permission to build the Station Plaza complex in May, 2007, complete with the Sussex Coast College Hastings campus, 103 homes, health facilites, shops, car parking and access.
A Section 106 condition was placed on the permission meaning 30 per cent of the residential section would be affordable housing.
The homes were never built and legislative changes in 2013 mean developers can ask for the condition removed if they can prove the affordable housing element would make the overall profit too small to be viable.
In Laing’s application, it says it is ‘important’ for the homes to be built but the rise in construction costs and other factors, including the stall in the land prices, makes the scheme ‘unviable’.
The planning officer’s report says: “Government guidance is such that building new homes is paramount and local authorities should not be seen to stall house building due to non viability and affordable housing contributions.
“Given that the viability submitted by the applicant and assessed by the district valuer concludes that the scheme is unviable with affordable housing provision it is recommended that the modification of the S106 be approved.”
HBC’s planning committee will discuss the proposal at its meeting on Thursday evening at 6pm at Aquila House.
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