Tue, 09 Feb 2021
THE developer behind plans for 42 retirement flats in Tadley has confirmed it will appeal the decision to reject the proposals, accusing the borough council of “a lack of understanding”.
McCarthy Stone submitted plans in October 2018 to redevelop the Reading Warehouses building in New Road, Tadley, to create 42 one-and two-bedroom retirement apartments for private sale, as well as landscaped gardens and a new Co-op.
The application was conditionally given the green light in November 2019, but with the terms of a provision for five affordable homes as part of the development left unconfirmed.
McCarthy Stone pushed for a contribution towards off-site affordable housing if there was no interest from registered social landlords in the five affordable units – claiming this would ensure the homes wouldn’t remain unoccupied upon completion.
Councillors rejected this, however.
Council planning officers then agreed with McCarthy Stone that if there was no interest from registered social landlords, and the apartments couldn’t be occupied through direct referrals of “qualifying purchasers”, then the five apartments be offered to the general market at 80 per cent of the market value, thereby still providing a discounted, affordable rate.
However, in a borough council development control committee meeting on January 13, councillors again rejected this option, thus refusing the application, saying it would allow the developers to get out of the requirement of providing on-site, affordable, rented accommodation.
McCarthy Stone has now confirmed it plans to appeal the decision, reaffirming its commitment to bring the residential development to Tadley.
McCarthy Stone Southern Division managing director Shane Paull said: “We are extremely disappointed with the decision of the development control committee, which we feel demonstrates a lack of understanding of the cascade system proposed by its own officers, and is entirely consistent with planning practice.
“If the affordable units do not attract any interest from affordable housing providers, it is irrational for the council to require the apartments to remain empty pending further discussions.
“The last 12 months do not provide us with confidence that the matter would be resolved with any urgency, and unfortunately, we are unable to continue with these delays.
“We are, however, committed to delivering an attractive and much-needed residential development on this brownfield site, which will help to meet an acknowledged and growing need for specialist accommodation for older people and affordable housing.
“As a result of this refusal, we will now undertake a formal appeal process, which will be submitted in the coming weeks.
“There is a significant need for new homes in Basingstoke and Deane, with the borough falling short of its five-year housing land supply.
“McCarthy Stone’s development would provide a significant contribution to helping towards this target, on a previously-developed, brownfield site in an urban, sustainable location which is close to local facilities and transport links.”