Will Farnham’s Woolmead development – minus affordable​ homes – boost Berkeley’s profits even further​?​

HOW TO DUPE WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL… just follow the Berkeley Bunnies?

Recently Waverley planning officers persuaded councillors to support another housing development with NO affordable homes, despite having an agreed Local Plan policy to provide 30%!

So the Berkeley Bunnies will soon be burrowing into Farnham’s East Street without having to spend a penny on any ‘affordable homes because officers convinced everyone that ‘experts’ had deduced that if the developer was forced to do so the 147 dwelling development would be unviable. Same happened in Haslemere.

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For years Berkleys has been pulling the same old ruse with local authorities around the country. Raking in squillions over the past seven years – by not providing low-cost homes.

Everyone is still asking three years after consent was granted at an appeal for 425 homes, 30% of which were to be affordable in Cranleigh – where are they?

Hounslow council accepted that Berkeley could only build 20% of a 308-unit scheme as affordable – half the local authority’s affordable target! To build those units, Berkeley stated in a planning agreement, that would mean the scheme would be £24.6m in deficit. Berkeley told Hounslow that house sales would generate £132m. Berkeley did agree to make an extra payment to Hounslow capped at £8.3m in the event of the scheme performing well.

Land Registry data suggest that the scheme generated close to £250m, with one apartment selling for £4.55m.

Berkeley’s shares have soared on the back of the profits, creating a fortune for the company’s senior executives, who since 2008 have been given shares worth £610m. Pidgley himself holds an additional 4.4m shares, worth £163m. The shares have more than trebled in value over the past decade.

You can read one Waverley councillor’s’view of the recent planning decisions here: 

Is Waverley’s new boy concerned about his role on the planning committee?

The housebuilder Berkeley Group’s founder and chairman, Tony Pidgley, raised by travellers just outside the Waverley borough, has earned £174m over the past decade, and is set to be paid another £48m by the company over the next five years, which will make him one of the highest paid bosses of a public company in Britain.

His pay package has attracted the anger of politicians and housing campaigners as investigations uncovered that the company has reduced its affordable housing obligations in the overwhelming majority of its developments.

So watch out Cranleigh!

Berkeley’s shares have soared on the back of the profits, creating a fortune for the company’s senior executives, who since 2008 received shares worth £610m. Pidgley holds an additional 4.4m shares, worth £163m. These have more than trebled in value over the past decade.

However, the housebuilding barons are now selling shares worth £300m!  Among them, Chairman Pidgley (£65m) and Chief Executive Rob Perrins (£37m)

Is that a downturn in the property market we hear?

Although the company has restricted future bonus payouts following shareholder anger, the top six executives could still collect another £127m over the next four years. Pidgley, who has amassed a £310m fortune according to the Sunday Times rich list, is set for up to £48m.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, said Pidgley and other housebuilders have a duty to the nation to build more affordable housing especially if they are personally making “vast fortunes” from building expensive homes.

“Tony Pidgley is rightly regarded as a sage of the housebuilding industry, with an impressive record of calling the housing market correctly. That explains why he is well-paid,” Cable said.

“But housebuilders who are making these vast fortunes must also understand that they have a social responsibility to make sure the country has the homes we so desperately need. Shareholders must make sure that executives are not rewarded for a poor record on affordable housing because that does not encourage them to do the right thing and make sure we have a sustainable housing market.”

3 thoughts on “Will Farnham’s Woolmead development – minus affordable​ homes – boost Berkeley’s profits even further​?​”


    From Local Government Lawyer Planning
    “Court quashes planning permission for care home over error in officer report
    Tuesday, 14 August 2018 08:58
    The High Court has quashed planning permission for a care home because of a material error in the council officer’s report that led to its approval.
    The judge said that while revised figures for care home places in the area had been included in a part of the officer’s report devoted to flood risk, these had not appeared elsewhere.
    “There is nothing from which this court could properly conclude that the corrected figures were taken into account by members when considering fundamentally important issues such as the principle of development and the planning balance,” she said giving judgment in Matthews & Anor, R (on the application of) v City of York Council & Anor [2018] EWHC 2102.
    “I conclude that the overall effect of the report was to significantly mislead the committee about the level of undersupply in the local area and which was left uncorrected in relation to the issues of the principle of development and the planning balance.”


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