No affordable homes for new Preston housing estate

None of the 200 properties given the go-ahead on a major development in North West Preston will fall into the affordable homes category – after a housebuilder argued that it was too costly to provide them, because of the amount it was paying out in other contributions to the local area.

Friday, 6th November 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 6th November 2020, 3:06 pm

Preston City Council’s planning committee approved the outline proposal for the plot off Tabley Lane, after hearing that developer Redrow Homes would be making payments of almost £3.7m if it secured permission for the site.

The firm will hand over £1.2m towards the cost of the new East-West link road connecting Lightfoot Lane and the under-construction Preston Western Distributor route, along with £2.2m in community infrastructure levy (CIL).

However, the firm will not be obliged to meet the standard 30 percent affordable housing quota for its estate.

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Access to the new estate will be taken from an existing development on Tabley Lane, pictured here in April 2019 before work on it began (image: Google)

Instead, it will pay a £154,000 contribution to the provision of six such properties, possibly for social renting, elsewhere in Preston – equivalent to three percent of the total number of dwellings on the Tabley Lane site.

Redrow’s planning agent for the application, Samantha Ryan, said that the company was “committed to providing affordable housing on its sites where it’s viable to do so”.

However, separate viability assessments carried out by Redrow and the city council ultimately led to the two agreeing the reduced affordable housing contribution.

Committee member Jennifer Mein questioned why some developers building in the North West Preston area found that affordable housing provision was viable and others did not – especially as they were all paying the same flat amount per property in CIL payments.

The authority’s head of development, Natalie Beardsworth, said that each element of the developer contributions being sought on estates in that area were intrinsically linked – and that “a balance” had to be struck. CIL is not due on affordable homes.

“The East-West link road contribution has almost doubled in the last 12 months…but [Redrow] haven’t walked away.

“We knew straight away because of the case made by the applicant that they couldn’t afford 30 percent affordable housing, the full link road contribution and CIL.

“If we had [demanded] 30 percent…we wouldn’t have got the full contribution to the East-West link road.

“Housing is being delivered in an area where we want to see housing,” Ms. Beardsworth added.

Part of the site is also being set aside for a new primary school.

The new estate will be accessed from a neighbouring Redrow development.

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