Councillors welcomed a developer’s commitment to low earners as they approved plans for almost 100 affordable housing.
Gleeson Regeneration won unanimous support for its £8 million proposal to build 96 homes on the site of the old Spring Lane College in Arbourthorne.
Members of the planning committee have been strong in their criticism of some firms who have sought to remove conditions requiring so-called ‘affordable’ housing from their developments.
Commercial Estates Group in particular has been a target as a result of repeated attempts to back out of its promise over the Oughtibridge Mill site.
But Gleeson received plenty of praise for its proposal to make its entire site low cost.
The 96 homes, built between Cradock Road, City Road and Park Grange Lane, will be designed for families on low incomes who would not normally be able to afford their own house.
Gleesons land and planning director Steve Gamble told Tuesday’s meeting that homes would start at £100,000 - and that would come down to a mortgage of £75,000 if people took advantage of the Government’s help-to-buy scheme.
“We are making a two-bedroom house affordable to a couple on the minimum wage,” he said.
The company will also put money towards community projects, and will aim to employ contractors from within two miles of the site.
And it will put £100,000 towards the tennis project at Hollinsend Park to make up for the loss of two football pitches - although the playing field itself has not been used in five years, according to council planning officers.
Mr Gamble also told councillors that sale contracts all had a ‘no-rental’ covenant, meaning homes could not be let without the express permission of Gleesons - and that would only be lifted in exceptional circumstances.
There were four objections to the proposals, raising concerns about traffic and the loss of open space.
But councillors were happy to agree with their officers’ recommendation and grant planning permission.
Coun Peter Price said: “I welcome this and congratulate the developer.
“I find it a very odd contract when we get developers coming in with expensive houses and can’t afford to put a few affordable homes in, whereas we have a developer here providing all affordable homes.”
Coun Chris Rosling-Josephs said the development was ‘much needed’ in the area, adding: “I’m glad that it’s low-cost housing.”
Coun Rosling-Josephs also praised the site’s proximity to the tram line, but said he would hope to see a little more inspiration in the house designs.
And Coun Tony Damms said: “We need more of these type of developments.
“I like the idea that it can’t be sold for renting.”