Plans approved despite no cash for affordable housing

Plans: Midland House, the site of the development
Plans: Midland House, the site of the development
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A block of 25 apartments on Preston’s docks has been given the green light, again.

An application for the part three, part four and part five-storey building at Maritime Way was approved earlier this year, subject to an agreement to secure a cash contribution towards off-site affordable housing.

It since emerged the proposed development could not make any financial contribution while maintaining a “viable scheme”, but planning officers at Preston Council said the application should still be given the green light.

The plans were passed again at this week’s planning committee meeting, but councillors said they were “disappointed” there would be no affordable housing.

An agent for the plans did not speak at the meeting, but a statement issued this week said there was a “genuine resurgence in interest in living in the dockland area”.

Coun Peter Moss said: “I am really disappointed for the council tax payers of Preston.

“It would seem we are unable to convert that genuine resurgence in interest in living in the docklands area into a contribution that we have a policy on.”

Chairman Coun Brian Rollo said: “What I get a feeling of is developers getting permission and coming back and modifying it, and I fail to understand how an application that was viable four or five months ago is no longer viable, nothing significant has changed in that time.”

The plans were approved nine votes to two.