Affordable housing: attempt to divide site to avoid obligation

Weston Homes Plc v East Hertfordshire DC

[2017] P.A.D. 42 (Planning Inspector)

45 The 13-unit scheme makes no provision for affordable housing since it falls below the 15-unit threshold and, at the time the council determined the application, it was not aware that a proposal would come forward for the appeal site. The council therefore, argues that the appeal scheme should make up the shortfall by providing five additional affordable units equating to 40% of the total of 56 units proposed in both schemes.

46 I recognise the close physical and functional relationship between the two schemes which have now emerged. However, the areas are treated differently in the LP. Under Policy BUN6 the site of the 13-unit scheme is reserved for live/work units, whereas the appeal site is reserved for Class B1 and B2 uses. Whilst the 13-unit scheme for the smaller site was for dwellings, rather than live/work units, its approval indicates that the council was persuadable that such development would be acceptable. In contrast, the refusal of the appealed residential application indicates that the council considers that a different approach should be taken with regard to the appeal site. Consequently, I consider that the owners/promoters of the sites were justified in progressing them separately on the basis of their treatment in the development plan and that this did not amount to an artificial sub-division the land.

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