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Plan for 42 retirement flats in Tadley refused after affordable homes stalemate

Decision leaves council vulnerable to appeal

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby

jonathan.ashby@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

Plan for 42 retirement flats in Tadley refused after affordable homes stalemate

PLANS to build retirement flats in Tadley have stalled after the developer and council failed to reach an agreement on the provision of affordable homes.

In November 2019, Basingstoke and Deane councillors gave the green light to a proposal for 42 retirement flats in New Road, Tadley, with the councillors accepting two potential options for the provision of affordable homes in a cascade arrangement.

The first option was for five of the homes to be at 60 per cent of market value, and if this was not possible for the developer then they would revert to option two, which was five homes at 80 per cent of market value available to qualifying people, and a commuted sum of £100,000.

The application - which would see the demolition of Reading Warehouses - also included an on-site Co-op retail store and a lay-by for deliveries. 

Following this meeting, discussions continued with the applicant McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles, with the company seeking a third option of an entirely financial contribution of around £200,000 prior to the 42 homes being filled if it considered the first two options unachievable.

However, on December 9, borough councillors rejected this option and McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles then refused to sign a Section 106 agreement – money paid by the developer towards local infrastructure – without a third option.

Discussions took place between council officers and the developer and an agreement was reached for a third option which allowed for five homes at 80 per cent of market value available to the market and a commuted sum of £100,000.

However, in a Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council development control committee meeting on January 13, councillors again rejected this third option by a majority of seven to four, with one abstention, causing the application to be refused on the grounds that a Section 106 agreement has not been signed.

Nicholas Robinson (Con, Bramley and Sherfield) said: “I feel it doesn’t give an appropriate on-site mix of affordable housing. That’s how I feel about it and it appears six other people agree with me.

“This is not a difficult location, I don’t understand why the developer thinks they might have this problem in the first place.

“If they build the flats of a correct standard, this problem shouldn’t exist.

“Effectively what option three does is offer discounted houses to people who can afford a market value one.

“That’s doing nothing whatsoever for the people who are struggling to get on the housing ladder.”

However, the decision has left the council open to an appeal by McCarthy & Stone as a resolution has already been made to grant planning permission for the homes.

Planning officer Mike Townsend said: “On the narrowness of the affordable housing issue, in the absence of a five-year housing supply, where there’s already a resolution to grant planning permission subject to the majority of these things being fulfilled, I think there’s a high probability of losing the appeal.

“I would also anticipate a costs decision against the council as well.

“It would put the council in a very odd and unusual position to effectively now go back against the original resolution which has already endorsed the five discount market units as provided by option two.”

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