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Controversial 201-home estate in Chorley set to be thrown out

Written by on June 24, 2020

A large looming housing development near Chorley looks set to be thrown out over a developer’s desire to bring no affordable housing to the site.

Almost four years ago housing developer Taylor Wimpey applied to build 201 homes on land east of Yarrow Valley Park, between the village of Coppull and Chorley town centre.

At the time, Taylor Wimpey offered no affordable housing for the site, which is to the south west of Lower Burgh Way.

But as of early 2019, and following discussions with Chorley Borough Council, it was decided that 35 social rented homes would be created; just over 17% of the new properties.

This was alongside £111,957 in green space contributions and £3,015 in allotment contributions.

A contribution of £321,399 was also agreed on to make up for a shortfall in playing pitches and affordable housing, with the council’s affordable housing quota being 30%.

A £1.7 million to £1.9 million Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund to Chorley Council would also be chargeable.

Infrastructure which can be funded by the levy includes schools, transport, flood defenses, hospitals, community facilities and other health and social care facilities.

But since then, Taylor Wimpey tried to re-open negotiations with council planning bosses.

And as of September 2019, it wanted to, once again, offer no affordable housing on the site.

Further discussions took place, with 10 social rented homes or six social rented homes and 10 shared ownership properties were decided upon by the developer.

The conference kept going back and forward, with a telephone conversations between Taylor Wimpey and the council in April 2020 mentioning the potential to increase affordable housing to the previously agreed number of 35 homes.

The housing developer said the reasons for its lower offer had been due to ‘errors in judgement’ on its behalf.

It said the land is now worth £1.1 million less than in 2016 due to ‘abnormal’ costs.

This is combined with an increase in build costs, due to inflation, of £3.9 million (23.84%) over two years.

But Chorley Council has now told Taylor Wimpey its plan isn’t good enough and is now looking for councillors to throw to the scrapheap.

Councillors on the planning committee are set to meet virtually on Thursday evening (June 25) where planning officers have recommended they refuse the development.

In notes appearing before councillors, officers note that “the financial viability case put forward by the applicant does not adequately justify the lower level of affordable housing provision”.

Notes add that it doesn’t meet the requirements set out in national planning policy or the local affordable housing quota of 30% per development, or 15 or more homes.