Two councils, two very different approaches to retirement housing

It is interesting to compare the Millbrook development in Exeter with PegasusLife’s at the Knowle, Sidmouth.

At Millbrook [the retirement complex in Exeter, Exeter City Council being the planning authority] the development was considered to be C3 (dwelling houses) and therefore attracted affordable housing provision which consisted of a payment to the Council of £5.65 million plus the transfer of land at no cost to enable the Council to construct a public extra care facility on the site. In addition the developer contributed almost £300,000 towards sports facilities and £35,000 towards archeological recording.

And what are PegasusLife, who are backed by Oaktree, a billion-dollar equity giant with offshore tax-haven connnections, contributing?

Answer: nothing, whether the development is adjudged to be C2 (residential institution) or C3. Unless of course, you include an information board to tell you where the elegant lawn terraces in the public gardens used to be.

So how many “affordable” houses (or other provision) is East Devon losing out on?

One thought on “Two councils, two very different approaches to retirement housing

  1. Come on Owl. This is a most unfair criticism.

    Yes – I know that the whole planning process has been a conflict of interest for a council desperate to sell the land to pay for a vanity project they gave the go-ahead for without having sold the land to fund it. But that doesn’t automatically make a decision not to demand affordable housing and contribution to infrastructure wrong – maybe they would have done this anyway even if they had not been desperate to sell their own land, depriving the community of these benefits regardless.

    And yes – I know that Pegasus Life (like most developers) could easily afford to contribute to affordable homes and S106 / Community Levy. But this is not the Capitalistic way of doing things so beloved by our trusted Conservative Party leaders. Yes – I know that if they don’t make a community levy contribution, then it will be our council tax which will have to go up to pay for it – but isn’t that is a price worth paying to protect the capitalist way of life and allow the developers to make huge profits?

    Besides which, surely it makes much more sense for the council to let the developer make an excess profit, because any overage they get from that – there is an overage clause in the contract with Pegasus Life isn’t there? – will not be tied to infrastructure delivery or to being given to town / parish councils to spend on necessities (like community facilities), but can instead be spent as the Council Leadership wishes on perhaps e.g. better quality furnishings for the Leader’s and Chief Executive’s new offices, or on above inflation salary increases for Senior Officers to reflect the huge responsibilities and perfect execution of their roles.

    And of course, who wants penniless hoi-polloi riff-raff poor people buying affordable homes in our own prime real-estate part of the world, lowering our own property prices in the process? Much better to have people rich enough to pay the Pegasus Life maintenance and service charges living here, surely? And we wouldn’t want to see the directors and shareholders of Pegasus Life missing out on those little extra luxuries at the Christmas time of year, would we?

    So, let me take this opportunity to wish the EDDC Council Leadership and Senior Officers, and the shareholders and directors of Pegasus Life, a very merry Christmas and a definitely prosperous New Year – after all how could it not be prosperous for them when they are working so closely as a team (despite being on opposite sides of a planning appeal).


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