Granham Hill site: developers ask to be excused affordable housing levy
The empty site at the foot of Granham Hill - the former Clarke and Rodway garage - was discussed at the recent meeting of the Town Council's planning committee (October 31.) The developers of the retirement flats to be built on the site - McCarthy & Stone - are asking Wiltshire Council to cancel their requirement to pay a levy to support the building of affordable homes elsewhere.
This levy, which is believed to be £334,625, was instigated by Wiltshire Council and agreed with McCarthy and Stone, who now say their costs for clearing the site exceeded their estimates so they should be excused paying the levy.
The Town Council, which opposed the original planning applicaiton for the development, is pointing out to Wiltshire Council that their own Core Strategy recognises the need for more affordable housing in the town and is urging the Council not to agree to the developers' demand.
However, under this government's planning policies there is a presumption in favour of development - without reference to needs for infrastructure improvements or affordable housing. This obviously conflicts with the local circumstances of the Wiltshire Core Strategy, which have been agreed by the government.
Councillor Fogg will 'call in' this application so it can be aired fully by the Eastern Planning Committee.
In July McCarthy and Stone delayed the start of work on the Granham Hill site due to economic uncertainties following the referendum. Since then they have faced more uncertainties in the market for retirement homes. However Marlborough.News has heard that work is scheduled to start on the site in January.