Developer’s bid to avoid payments from new housing challenged by council experts
A developer wanting to put houses on a former industrial site has done a u-turn on a series of demands to be excused the financial contributions housebuilders are now expected to make.
Barnsley Council agreed to switch the old Company Shop site – originally Birdwell railway station – at New Road, Tankersley, from industrial to housing use as part of its recently adopted Local Plan.
But when a planning application for 29 homes on the site was submitted, planning documents insisted the scheme would not be viable if the builder was made to pay towards the pressure new homes would put on schools in the area, to provide the ‘affordable housing’ now required and to provide ‘green space’ for public use.
However, Barnsley Council has investigated the claims and has concluded the development will remain profitable if payments totalling more than £190,000 are made to take account of the need for green space in the area and to pay towards new primary and secondary school places.
In this instance, the green space cash will probably be used to upgrade existing facilities in the area.
Developments in that part of Barnsley are now expected to sign over 30 per cent of new homes for ‘affordable housing’, such as rented or shared ownership, but council officials have agreed that four would be an acceptable number on that site.
A further change to initial plans is that under the original application, the developer sought to strip out all the trees and shrubs on site – provoking an objection from the council’s tree officer.
Most are towards the edges of the site, where they would be in the gardens of new homes, and plans have been redrawn to take that into account.
A decision on whether the scheme will be allowed is expected when the council’s planning board meets on Tuesday March 19.