Removing the affordable housing requirement from a major development in Hastings is a ‘great pity’ but it was out of our hands, according to the council leader.
Hastings Borough Council planning committee unanimously approved the proposal for Station Plaza not to include 31 ‘desperately-needed’ social units on December 15.
Cllr Peter Chowney said a planning law loophole and backing from the district valuer meant the local authority could not refuse the application despite it going against its local plan.
“The decision not to include any social housing in the scheme is disappointing, and a great pity, when we need social housing so desperately,” he said.
“However, the government recently introduced a loophole into planning law that allows developers to claim that a scheme would be ‘unviable’ if social housing were included.
“In which case, the council cannot insist that social housing is included, even though our local plan says that all developments of this size should include 25 per cent social housing.
“So in this case, as the district valuer supported the developer’s viability assessment, the council was unable to insist on the inclusion of much-needed social housing.”
Developers claimed the affordable housing provision would make the scheme ‘not viable’ financially.
Many have criticised the decision including Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Perry who said it was ‘utter lunacy’.
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