A developer with plans for Haverhill’s old magistrates’ court site claims the council has ‘blocked’ the development in a row over the proportion of affordable housing.
Churchill Retirement Living wants to use the Camps Road court and care home site for ‘high quality, self-contained homes in attractive landscaped grounds,designed exclusively for the over 60s’ with a ‘lodge manager’, 24 hour careline and communal lounge. There would also be housing for sale next to that.
But it has now lodged a planning appeal against St Edmundsbury Borough Council for non-determination of the application.
Churchill says the council is refusing to accept the findings of an independent expert’s viability assessment of the site which it had agreed to and is ‘going against planning policy’. The council says Churchill want less than a sixth of the percentage of affordable housing set down in the policy.
Andrew Burgess, planning director of Churchill Retirement Living, said: “The approach being taken by the council is unreasonable, irresponsible and illogical.
“We recognise our responsibility to provide affordable housing contributions, however, this has to be provided as part of an economically viable development that is deliverable.
“Councillors and the local community need to be made aware that the council are now forcing a long and expensive planning inquiry which is likely to end up costing taxpayers a significant amount of money.
“This is the only fundamental issue between us and the council and we are keen to resolve it and start work on the development as soon as possible.”
Council spokeswoman said: “No planning decision has been taken by St Edmundsbury Borough Council because Churchill Retirement chose to stop negotiations and has appealed against our non-determination.
“Our duty to residents is to ensure that developments include appropriate numbers of affordable homes and the council’s own independent expert viability assessment disagreed with Churchill’s view.
“The borough’s democratically-approved affordable housing policy is for 30 per cent to be provided by developers – Churchill offered less than five per cent. We will await the result of the non-determination appeal.”