Housing developers withdraw Sheffield affordable housing pledge

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Housing developers set to build on Sheffield’s greenbelt have withdrawn their pledge to spend £1.8million on affordable housing, prompting claims they ‘misled’ the council’s planning committee.

Sheffield Council granted permission for housing developer Avant Homes to build a total of 88 homes on the former Dyson factory site in Stopes Road, Stannington in October.

Avant bosses signed a legal agreement last month, committing to spend £1,856,641 on the provision of affordable housing – but withdrew the pledge just 10 days later saying they believed it to be ‘unviable’.

At a meeting on Tuesday, several members of Sheffield City Council’s planning committee criticised Avant Homes’ decision to backtrack on the affordable homes agreement, claiming they had been ‘misled’ by the company.

Coun Peter Rippon said that if it had not been for the company’s commitment to the affordable housing spend, ‘permission would almost certainly have been refused.’

He added: “We are upset for the lack of respect they have shown us, the community and the people of Sheffield.

“Their commitment weighed significantly in our decision to approve planning permission.

“We feel we have been misled.”

A spokesman from Avant Homes said: “We have been totally transparent and open with council officers at expressing our view that the scheme cannot viably support an affordable housing contribution.

“This is not a situation where we have sought to present one position prior to determination and a different one following the grant of planning permission.

“In these circumstances the current application should not be seen as ‘playing the system’ but rather as a house builder respectfully asking for a fresh set of eyes at the district valuer’s office to ‘take a second look’ and advise the council accordingly.”