Affordable Housing - JR ruling

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Thursday 19 February 2015 9.26pm
Very interesting story. I'm sure something was said about 'viability' when the provision of affordable housing was reduced in the recommendation to the GLA about the Barratts Tower at St Georges Circus.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/silver-hill-housing-council-unlawfully-agreed-to-scrapping-affordable-and-social-homes-plan-10046122.html
Thursday 19 February 2015 9.44pm
I was involved in a case recently where much play was made of this "viability" issue. The London local authority concerned (not Southwark) was almost bending over backwards for the developer on the basis of "viability", even when the effect of this was to remove 25% of the housing that would otherwise have been required pursuant to their own policy. They obviously allowed the application.
Friday 20 February 2015 9.45am
At last a common sense and just judgement.
Let's hope this is the start of a fightback against all those councils who seem to have if not corrupt then compliant officers and councillors who are only too willing to do as their masters, the developers, want and demand .
There is a pattern to all of this as we can see with Southwark, Westminster, Winchester.
It is understandable that greedy developers would get together and communicate their victories between themselves but it is totally unacceptable that councils should join them and act against their ratepayers and housing waiting lists.
Friday 20 February 2015 11.06am
It's important to be clear that the case in Winchester is rather different from, for example, the Barratt scheme in Southwark cited above in that it concerns a redevelopment scheme initiated by Winchester council via compulsory purchase.

On a purely privately owned site where the council is simply acting as planning authority and not landowner, the question of the council initiating a 'procurement' process doesn't arise.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Friday 20 February 2015 2.08pm
James Hatts wrote:
It's important to be clear that the case in Winchester is rather different from, for example, the Barratt scheme in Southwark cited above in that it concerns a redevelopment scheme initiated by Winchester council via compulsory purchase.
On a purely privately owned site where the council is simply acting as planning authority and not landowner, the question of the council initiating a 'procurement' process doesn't arise.
James, how about the Heygate ? Compulsory purchases were made there by Southwark Council.
Saturday 21 February 2015 6.53pm
Thanks for that information James, I've asked the question of Southwark Council because I didn't really understand everything in the article. Can you think of any developments in SE1 where this might apply?
Tuesday 24 February 2015 3.36pm
True that the Winchester case only refers to a JR which is an error of law/process, in this case, an error of procurement law. Nothing to do with planning as such.

It might perhaps be applicable elsewhere where councils procure a development partner on one basis who then doesn't build in line with that procurement, but it would depend on finding out how the partner is procured, which tends to be absolutely commercially confidential.

The lengths LPAs will / are expected to go to in order to facilitate the building of lots of homes (especially in London where the Mayor sets mandatory targets), and get S106 monies, are such that they probably can't be said to be simply reactive in their approach to dealing with major residential applications. A developer with a site in a good location, like Blackfriars Bridge Road, will find out what the council's plans are, influence planning policy during the public consultations on that policy, discuss with officers how many homes could be built and what contributions could arise, and do the same with GLA if a very big site. All that would be well before a planning application; by the time the application is submitted the key principles will probably be understood to be agreed.
Tuesday 24 February 2015 7.41pm
You have just described the procedure in Blackfriars Road (no Bridge in the street name btw).

Barratts has a site next to St George's Circus, and a proposal to redevelop is put to the council. First proposal is in keeping with surrounding building height.

Discussions with Southwark and a tower is proposed, but unfortunately it is outside Southwark's own area where tall building were deemed acceptable, or even desirable (Tall buildings policy).

A SPD for Blackfriars Road is rushed through. We are told it will not override or change policy. But now "landmark" and "gateway" sites, like St. George's Circus are deemed suitable for tall buildings in it.

Barratts gets a planning permission for a 96m tower at St. George's Circus, against policy. But supported by the SPD (which was not meant to change policy).

Draw your own conclusions!

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