The proposal to allow the development of 227 new homes at Kilnwood Vale solely for rent (not sale) at market rates from a single commercial landlord, has attracted much media comment.
So, being curious, I took a look at all the (online) paperwork. Curiously, my concerns were very different from those already reported.
What interested me was that strangely, HDC had decided to exempt the developer from the contractual requirement to deliver 25 per cent of the units as affordable homes.
Why is HDC letting another developer ‘off the hook’ I thought, especially as the legal S106 agreements were already in place? What viability evidence has HDC asked for (none referenced online) in order to allow such a variance?
Perhaps I was just being paranoid again over the obscene profits reportedly made by developers, whilst our district infrastructure remains severely underfunded!
But no, I found that I was in good, well-informed company. Crawley Borough Council Planning had been consulted and had vigorously objected on the grounds of ‘lack of affordable housing’.
They said that such a development is ‘for profit’ and the developers’ assertion that with affordable housing it would be ‘financially unviable’ are ‘not accepted’.
Their use of the words ‘special exemption or favour’ to describe any granting of planning permisssion by HDC shows just how strongly they felt. On what grounds did HDC Planning take the fundamentally opposite view?
Was this all fully aired at HDC Development Control North when they approved this on 5th April?
Why not ask your district councillor why they failed (yet again) to secure sufficient (any!) affordable housing (or even payments in lieu)?
N.B. There is no dispute over the potential benefits of such a significant provision of market rent homes in the district, but why oh why are we always suckers for the developers hard-luck stories?
Cox Green, Rudgwick
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