Housing plans rejected over £807k community spending ultimatum
PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 December 2019
Plans to build a new 72 home estate in Mistley have been rejected after an argument over a £807,000 contribution paid by the developer towards community facilities was left unresolved.
Council officers had advised Tendring District Council's planning committee to approve the plans despite the dispute over the community payment, however, at a meeting on November 25, councillors voted to reject the proposals.
Developers, Rose Builders originally applied to build 70 new homes on land north of Stourview Close in the Essex village in November 2016.
However Tendring District Council (TDC) deferred a decision from its October planning committee after the firm raised concerns over the amount it would have to pay in Section 106 money, which requires developers to make contributions to local infrastructure such as schools and health services.
Rose Builders was initially told to pay £538,000 in Section 106 money, as well as give the council five homes for social housing.
However after increasing the number of properties on the development by two, the Section 106 costs rose to £807,000.
Rose Builders said that it would be unable to build the now 72-home estate due to lack of profit and planning officers at TDC said that a "significant discount" is acceptable "given the importance of maintaining housing land supply".
In reply, the development company offered to pay £260k, rather than the larger figure. They said it was the maximum amount it could pay to earn a profit level of 16.67%, which is inside the government's advised guidelines of a 15-20% profit level.
At the November meeting, the committee concluded that the need for housing did not outweigh the large discount in section 106 payments.
They concluded: "It is considered in this instance that the relative weight that should be given to the need to provide housing in the District is not sufficient to outweigh the low level contributions that will be provided to mitigate the impacts of the scheme in terms of addressing the additional demands on education and healthcare."
They also said that the "absence of policy compliant affordable housing requirements" was another reason for their rejection.