Saturday 22 March 2014 6.47pm
Why 35% or any other affordable target is a myth...
And not well understood unless we sit in Examinations in Public
(EIPs) and hear or read the reasons why we don't get 35% when we expect it.
If I have any of this wrong then I expect someone will correct me.
Short answer= Material considerations
, e.g. a valid robust viability assessment, trumps
affordable homes targets. Trumping 35% affordable (or 50% for Aylesbury) is supposed to be an "exception". But trumping has become pretty common.
The Coalition Government's National Planning Policy Framework
governs, and Planning Inspectors ensure Core Strategies and Area Action Plans conform with the NPPF.
That's why so many people are seeking openness and transparency and right to read the viability assessments for themselves see http://www.35percent.org/
and / or http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/178538/178774
The whole "viability" process is constructed and influenced by the developers, banking and legal industries bar the district valuer.
Southwark Labour's Fiona Colley's 2011 perverse "exception" affordability policy
responded to the Government's National Planning Policy Framework which requires "flexibility", and where fixed percentages or fixed quantities for "affordable housing" become "targets" and subject to an overriding requirement of flexibility that Southwark Labour's Fiona Colley's 2011 "exception" policy had to provide in order for Southwark's Core and other policies to be agreed by the Planning Inspector.
The Southwark Core Strategy and AAP's are all constrained by the requirements of the Governments NPPF. Why can't we have a real enforceable fixed minimum 35% in a Plan? Because the NPPF does not allow it, there must be flexibility, so ask the Conservative and Lib Dem Coalition about that because they made it law.
How is a viable percentage decided? Case by case, application by application. The viability study that is provided by the applicant's consultants and sent to the District Valuer.
But surely the Planning Committee can decide against a planning application? They rarely go against a Planning Officers recommendation, and anyway going against the "material consideration" of viability assessment evidence will only end up as an appeal that the applicant is highly likely to win.
Read it yourself:
"Exceptions to policy " instruction to Officers that effectively removed the 35% "must" and the "exception" became the rule:
, e.g. a valid robust viability assessment, trumps minimum of 35% affordable housing, "must" or whatever:
Read it yourself:
Report to The London Borough of Southwark By...an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Date 3 February 2011
The Planning Inspector
writes about Southwark's Core Strategy:
83. The CS seeks to strike an appropriate Balance
between the provision of a suitable mix of housing across all tenures and parts of the Borough with a requisite and viable provision of as many as possible affordable units. Indeed, the viability evidence is robust and neither indicates that SP6 would constrain housing delivery unacceptably nor support a percentage target for affordable housing in excess of 35%. This target is expressed as a minimum
which will enable a higher provision of affordable homes in certain circumstances.
84. I have considered the extent to which the use of the word ‘must’
in the final bullet point of SP6 will be effective in delivering the policy aims. Undoubtedly, the worded policy provides clear strategic direction for the provision of a suitable housing mix. Development proposals which may seek to vary from the CS in this regard would not be precluded from identifying material factors in their support.
On balance, I am satisfied that the importance of this issue and the geographic distribution identified within Figure 22 means that the CS would not be unduly prescriptive and, with regard to flexibility, would be effective"
Development proposals which seek to vary from the Core Strategy are not be precluded from identifying material factors to support avoiding the 35%.
As agreed by Southwark's FULL Council less absences and abstentions. So all three major parties.