Councils lose affordable housing appeal
Government overturns challenge over developers contributions
WEST Berkshire Council has had its victory over affordable housing contributions snatched away.
Last year, the district council and Reading Borough Council challenged the government in the High Court over changes to planning laws and won.
The changes would result in developers being excluded from paying contributions towards mitigating the impact of their developments for 10 properties or less in urban areas and five or less in rural areas.
The government subsequently challenged the High Court ruling however and yesterday (Wednesday), the Court of Appeal sided with the government and overruled the High Court decision.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis said the case was "a total waste of taxpayers' money" and that the uncertainty of the outcome had stalled new homes from being built.
A statement issued by the district council said: “West Berkshire and Reading Council’s are naturally disappointed by this result.
"We are reviewing this verdict and currently considering our options as a matter of priority with regard to appeal.
"Until such time as we have determined how we intend to proceed, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
The council had previously told the NWN that the legal challenge was “more a matter of principle about delivering much-needed affordable housing,” in response to questions over how much money the council would lose had the planning changes been adopted.
The council estimated that 23.5 per cent of affordable housing units would have been lost.
For more reaction, pick up next week's Newbury Weekly News.