Affordable homes waiver 'no precedent'

A decision to allow a developer to build 38 homes without any being affordable will not open the floodgates to others developers getting out of building social housing, council chiefs have said.

A decision to allow a developer to build 38 homes without any being affordable will not open the floodgates to others developers getting out of building social housing, council chiefs have said.

In a controversial decision a Norfolk council allowed a developer to build 38 new homes in Attleborough without any provision for affordable housing.

Developer, Sheringham-based Norfolk Homes, had claimed the entire development, on land off Bryony Way, would not be financially viable in the current economic climate if they had to include affordable homes.

The ruling pitched the council against one of its key targets - to build enough affordable homes - and was met with concern other developers could now argue the same case.


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But John Chinnery, the council's solicitor, told Monday's planning committee, which made the decision: “The quandary is we need houses as we have a shortfall in our five year supply of housing land.”

He said the claim the project would not be viable if it had to include affordable homes was checked by the district valuer who had confirmed Norfolk Homes' figures were correct.

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And said that measures would be put in place that would mean should the economic climate change the developer would be asked to make a financial contribution towards affordable housing in the area.

The council only has 2.8 years worth of deliverable housing sites, according to a report in April.

Further pressure to get homes built comes from the East of England Plan, a government planning strategy for the region, which says a minimum of 15,200 houses should be built in Breckland between 2001 and 2021.

But there are also some 3,000 people currently on the council's housing register, waiting for a home to live in.

Breckland Council's normal rules are that developments of more than 25 homes should have 35pc or more affordable houses.

But the council's planning committee was told that this fact needed to be balanced with the overall need for new homes in the district.

It was also added that another developer who had made a similar claim had had their case thrown out after the district valuer had checked their figures.

The new development will include one and two bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom homes.

Concerns had been raised locally about the scheme, including increased traffic and harming the character of the area.

The land currently has Butterfly Hall on it and old turkey sheds.

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