Another developer has successfully appealed under Section 106BC of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to reduce its affordable housing contribution on viability grounds.
The appeal by Tamewater Developments Limited followed the refusal of Oldham Borough Council to discharge three outstanding affordable housing contributions totalling £283,525 for a development consisting of 19 flats and 25 dwelling houses (£383,525 being the total sum secured as an off-site affordable housing contribution under the original S106 Agreement).
The Inspector accepted the viability evidence presented by the Developer and allowed the appeal, reducing the overall affordable housing contribution to £100,000 for a period of 3 years from the date of the decision.
Interrogating viability information supplied by developers does appear to present a challenge for Councils in an appeal situation. In a market where housing values are rising (albeit perhaps not as quickly in Oldham), Councils determining applications under S106BA should be pressing for a greater use of viability review mechanisms as a form of modification to the original affordable housing provisions, rather than simply refuting the viability evidence presented by the developers, particularly where there is not the expertise to robustly defend this position on appeal. At the very least, the provision of some affordable housing may be secured by a more solution based approach.