Berkeley’s was back in front of the Joint Planning Committee yesterday after councillors dug their heels in before Christmas and refused to heed planning officers’ advice to let the developer build “affordable homes” below decent home standards.
You can read it here:
At present developers can lob in as many applications for poor quality developments as they like – because although there are National Space Standards for small homes, ‘Your Waverley’ doesn’t have an adopted policy to adhere to them. We wonder why?
Perhaps because the Local Plan Part 2 has been delayed – due mainly to an uproar from the very vocal residents of Haslemere and the May elections – which are making every “wannagoback” and “wannabe” councillor very nervous.
It’s called don’t rock the boat time guys and gals!
So there you are Betty Boot & Co – Waverley’s so-called planning experts – if you listen to your democratically elected members occasionally, and seek, you will find – that developers will come to heel if they recognise, local opinion is both fair – and right.
Why would any builder want to build homes for rent, and shared-ownership for those on council housing lists – at below the nation’s minimum technical space standards? Why indeed! So far, in the East of the borough, there have been hardly any genuinely affordable homes built. We have also heard that developers are slashing prices of new homes, offering incentives, and are only selling a handful, thanks to the Help to Buy Scheme which is costing the British taxpayers £7.5m per day!!
However, Berkeley’s has just shown it will compromise – if it has to. And last night – it had to.
So full marks to councillors who stood their ground – it just shows developers can do it.
Now, thanks to them – the main bedroom in the one, two and three-bed homes will be 11.5.sqm and the second bedroom 7.5 sqm.
Councillors deserve a pat on the back for standing firm, the developer for listening and making improvements, and the ‘experts should hang their heads in shame.
There were some very worrying comments made at the meeting about an Environment Agency’s decision to refuse to support an application on adjacent land in Knowle Park, which is part of measures to relieve possible flooding in an area near this site and other sites which are about to take over 1,000 new homes. But this will form part of a future post. Watch this space!