Changed priorities on affordable restriction

A recent appeal decision in Shropshire tells us that it is worth comparing affordable housing restrictions on existing property against current local planning policy, an inspector having lifted a planning obligation from a house in the light of changed priorities (DCS Number 400-012-611).

The inspector noted that the local plan had restricted open market housing to urban areas and settlements, but that it had allowed for affordable housing throughout the district. Accordingly, the dwelling had been granted planning permission as an affordable dwelling on the village site. The prevailing policy had changed, however, under the core strategy, and market housing was now permitted in the village. The site was surrounded by development, and it was clear to the inspector that a planning application today for a market dwelling would be in accordance with planning policy.

The inspector acknowledged that there was a continued need for affordable housing in Shropshire. However, the fact that planning policy had changed to allow market housing was an important material consideration and a clear indication of changed priorities towards housing mix in this particular location, he held, holding that it would be wrong to disregard the current development plan policy framework. He reasoned that were a proposal to come forward now for a dwelling on the site, it would be unnecessary and unreasonable to require a restrictive planning obligation of the sort currently applied to the dwelling. It would be inappropriate and inequitable to single out this particular dwelling for continuing restriction when others might be built nearby without such restriction, and indeed where an unrestricted dwelling could be built if the site had remained in the condition it had been before the granting of the original planning permission.

The obligation was not required for the continued maintenance of an affordable dwelling in the location, the inspector concluded.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.628

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