Surprise, surprise and there may be no Community Infrastructure Levy either.
Tory legacy for Sidmouth gets worse and worse! – Owl
Affordable housing axed from Council HQ plans
Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com
Revised plans for the controversial redevelopment of the Knowle in Sidmouth have been submitted. McCarthy Stone’s proposals, for the former HQ of East Devon District Council, consist of a purpose-built care home, as well as extra care and retirement living accommodation.
Plans in 2018 were previously given the go-ahead to turn the premises at the Knowle into a purpose-built care home, retirement living apartments and affordable housing. Property developer LifeStory though ‘reviewed the consented development’ before selling the site to McCarthy Stone.
The new owners have now formally submitted a revised planning application for the site. But unlike the first scheme, there is no affordable housing included in the fresh plans. The plans do include four semi-detached houses, three townhouses and two chalet bungalows.
A statement with the planning application says: “The new approach has enabled a more efficient use of layout, building form and mix of accommodation to meet a greater need and variety of care. The development remains care and older person’s accommodation needs led but includes a greater mix of accommodation including a small proportion that may not necessarily be aimed at the older generation.
“The proposal provides the opportunity to achieve a high quality development that would positively contribute to meeting demonstrable local housing needs. This scheme provides numerous wide ranging social and planning benefits, both for potential residents and the community as a whole.”
CGI artist impressions of the redevelopment of the Knowle in Sidmouth
On the loss of affordable housing, the statement says: “The extant appeal scheme for the assisted living community includes no affordable housing provision or Community Infrastructure Levy. The proposed scheme subject of the application does include a greater mix of older persons accommodation and open market housing.
“The Care Home and Extra Care elements of the scheme do not attract a need for affordable housing contribution. The Retirement Living element of the scheme and open market residential (42units) would need to be considered in the context of the affordable housing policy and vacant building credit which is also intrinsically linked to viability.
“The Knowle site is a classic situation where incentives are needed to get a scheme off the ground which have otherwise stalled to date and has the effect of reducing the actual level of affordable housing required, subject to viability considerations.
“With specialist private retirement housing, however, it is acknowledged that significant logistical and servicing issues arise from trying to mix different types and forms of housing alongside each other. The Local Plan identifies that the main thrust for affordable housing should be aimed at the young starter end of the market, however the site constraints do not lend to the efficient development of affordable housing on site other than that indicated within the viability considerations.
“McCarthy and Stone assert that the provision of onsite affordable housing units on a site such as this, within specialised housing for the elderly is both problematic and unviable and that an off-site contribution would be more suitable if viability considerations permit.
“When mixing low cost / heavily subsidised sheltered housing with open market retirement housing, one must bear in mind the significant use of the shared communal facilities within private retirement housing. The level of services provided to the residents of private retirement housing result in the level of service charge being a significantly larger proportion of total living costs than would apply to other forms of accommodation.
“It would be very difficult to set the service charge at a level that would cover the costs of the type of management that private purchasers expect, yet still be affordable to residents of affordable housing. It would also be difficult for the affordable housing provider to guarantee payment of a service charge in perpetuity that would be liable to change on an annual basis.
“Another consequence of trying to mix private retirement housing with low cost/ subsidised housing would be the significant potential for friction and animosity between those residents who pay a significant annual service charge for premium services and those who would occupy low cost or heavily subsidised apartments, but have use of the same services.
“It is not unreasonable to assume that some residents would resent the fact that their neighbours are enjoying the same level of services for a fraction of the cost, or that they may perceive themselves to be subsidising others. This situation would only serve to exacerbate management problems and disputes between neighbours and would ultimately undermine the success of the housing development.
“In Sidmouth as in many similar places, the need for affordable housing is identified in smaller starter family homes and young workers.”
CGI artist impressions of the redevelopment of the Knowle in Sidmouth
Shane Paull, Divisional Managing Director at McCarthy Stone Southern Division said: “Our proposals for Sidmouth have been shaped by public feedback, and we have provided residents with the opportunity to provide us with their views since we initially acquired an interest in the site last year.
“Our plans represent a sensitive, well-designed development that will help improve accommodation choice for older people in the local area and will help to address a local demand for retirement accommodation, providing housing choice for older people, whilst freeing up the wider housing market for local families and first-time buyers further down the chain.”
Changes to the masterplan include:
· Additional parking has been included within the centre of the site, that will be naturally screened by new tree planting.
· The provision of four houses on the north-western part of the Plateau
· The number of affordable apartments has been reduced from 21 to 17. This has also enabled the affordable apartment block to be relocated from the northeast part of the Plateau to the north-west, that is stepped away from neighbouring properties
· The reduction in the level of Retirement Living PLUS apartments, from 59 to 53
· Additional tree planting to provide an extension to the Arboretum, that provides a green corridor stepping down to the south part of the Plateau site.
· The provision of two houses along the southern grass verge of the Plateau.
The plans now include:
· In northern part of the site that currently comprises of a car park, to be developed by Porthaven, to provide a 68-bedroom care home
· A high-quality Retirement Living and Retirement Living PLUS (Extra Care) development to be developed by McCarthy Stone on The Plateau part of the site, featuring up to 27 one-and two-bedroom Retirement Living apartments as well as up to 53 one- and two- bedroom Retirement Living PLUS (Extra Care) apartments for private sale, part-rent part-buy and rental options
· The Plateau part of the site to also include up to 17 one-and two-bedroom affordable open market housing apartments, as well as four houses, in compliance with local authority guidance
· Tailored shared facilities within both the Retirement Living developments, including a communal lounge with a kitchenette and a hotel-style guest suite as well as an onsite bistro restaurant within the Retirement Living PLUS development.
· Principal vehicle access from Station Road, with secondary access from Knowle Drive for the use of emergency and refuse vehicles only.
· Sufficient levels of car parking onsite, including disabled and electric vehicle charging bays, in accordance with East Devon District Council’s standards, as well as an overflow parking area to the southwest of The Plateau part of the site, that will be accessed from Station Road.
East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the application at a later date