Estate rejected after attempt to remove condition of selling to over 55s

Another example of a council not buckling under challenge from a developer to relax a Section 106 agreement – Owl

Amy Fenton www.lancs.live

A housing developer has been knocked back after trying to remove a condition requiring 78 new homes to be sold to the over 55s.

Taylor Wimpey was granted permission back in 2016 to build 1,040 new homes on land to the east of Clitheroe off Pendle Road.

One of the conditions in granting planning permission required 7.5 per cent of the new homes – 78, to be sold to the over 55s but the developer submitted an application to Ribble Valley Borough Council in November requesting that the condition, known as a Section 106, be varied.

The application has now been rejected with council officers stating Taylor Wimpey’s argument is “not acceptable”.

In a report explaining its decision the council said: “The applicant has explained that they have consulted with local market experts and when mortgage lenders take into consideration affordability they will consider the applicants age and the term that the mortgage can be taken out over. They consider that in the current climate the over 55s clause will severely limit the number of lenders willing to lend on the properties and the saleability of them.

This is not considered to be an acceptable argument. There is a clear need for over 55s housing in the borough and this strategic site is expected to make a significant contribution to this.

“This argument would suggest that persons over 55 would find it difficult to purchase a property in any scenario. Furthermore, the proposal seeks to remove the requirement to build homes to a lifetime standard which would also remove a contribution of this type of home to housing supply in the borough.

“The amendments proposed will affect the delivery of a significant number of lifetime homes and homes restricted to over 55s for which there is a demonstrated need in the borough. The justification offered is not considered to be convincing and as such the modifications are considered unacceptable.

“The proposal would be contrary to policies H2 and H3 of the Core Strategy, which aim to ensure that there is a suitable mix of housing to meet the housing needs and demands for the borough and ensure that properties are available to accommodate the changing needs of occupants. Therefore it is recommended accordingly.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said the developer “understood” the council’s decision.

“We recognise there is a need for housing for the over 55s in the area and we are committed to delivering new homes that meet local requirements,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand and accept the council’s decision regarding our proposed S106 amendment and will continue to deliver homes in line with the approved planning documents.”