Gary Lineker had to present MOTD in his underpants after Leicester City won the Premier League. The Blog finds itself in similar attire after betting its shirt on never seeing an inspector rule contrary to Government advice on affordable housing (Back in the real world). Because….an inspector has ruled contrary to Government advice on affordable housing (DCS Number 400-012-563). This appeal related to the redevelopment of a garage at a house in Surrey with a bungalow. Core strategy policy stated that for proposals comprising between one and four dwellings a financial contribution towards affordable housing should be sought, to be secured by means of a planning obligation. Whilst the developer initially indicated a willingness to provide the contribution the offer was subsequently withdrawn.
The inspector identified a conflict between the national threshold relating to the provision of affordable housing in the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of November 2014 and the thresholds set out in local policy, which he found to be consistent with Paragraphs 47 and 50 of the NPPF requiring local planning authorities to set policies for meeting affordable housing need.
The council explained that median house prices in the borough were exceptionally high and were amongst some of the highest in the country. The evidence suggested that house prices were rising higher than neighbouring authority areas and that the affordability ratio was 21.5 times the average lower quartile net income, placing it as the least affordable authority in England outside of London.
The inspector concluded that whilst the WMS carried considerable weight, it did not outweigh the development plan given the acute and substantial need for affordable housing in the borough and the importance of delivery through small sites towards this. In the absence of a planning obligation the appeal was dismissed.
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 8.2354