Agenda item

UTT/20/0864/FUL - Land behind, The Old Cement Works, Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden

To consider application UTT/20/0864/FUL.


The Senior Planning Officer said that this proposal was for the erection of 35 dwellinghouses. The proposal revised the previously approved development of the site which included 21 market houses and 14 affordable homes.


A comprehensive independent assessment of the consented scheme had determined that it was not viable to deliver all 14 affordable homes and that a reduction in number to 7 affordable homes was proposed. The other material change to the development would be the inclusion of an electric vehicle charging point with every unit.


The application was recommended for conditional approval subject to S106 Legal obligation.


Councillor Bagnall said that he objected to the fact that only 7 units of affordable housing were now being proposed and that this represented only 20% of units as against the Local Planning policy figure of 40%.


Councillor Freeman said that he fully supported Councillor Bagnall and said that the issue of live/work units went back to around 2003 and were a device to get residential accommodation outside town development limits. He also stated that the fact that there was no legal requirement for affordable housing should not be relevant, that viability should not be a planning issue and should not influence any decision made. He said that he was minded to refuse the application as there was a need for affordable and social housing.


The Development Manager explained that viability was a valid planning reason and that the peculiarity of this site was that it was about land value. He said that live/work units had not been successful.


He also corrected the report’s recommendation Paragraph (lll) (ii)  in respect of the S106 obligation and said that it should have stated “no 20% affordable housing provision” rather than “40%”.


Cllr Fairhurst said that he needed to see more figures in respect of the viability of affordable housing and anticipated profit. He said that this lack of clarity meant that he would look to refuse the application.


There was some discussion about what the possible implications were if the application was refused, particularly relating to the amount of affordable housing and the option of reverting to the original scheme.


In response to a Member’s question, the Development Manager explained that work/live units were originally set up with a larger than normal garage which could be used as a workshop to run a business from home. 


The Interim Legal Services Manager said that where these units had been built previously, most had changed through a certificate of lawful use to purely residential dwellings.


Cllr Pavitt said that there was a need for small apartments and a low cost market and that if the application was refused it might result in smaller units being built.


Councillor Freeman restated that this had been a Government concept but that this was a valuable brownfield site that the developer would eventually use. He proposed refusal of the application on the grounds of ULP Policy H9.


Councillor Fairhurst seconded the motion.


RESOLVED to refuse the application on the grounds of ULP Policy H9.



The meeting was adjourned at 11.48 am and reconvened at 11.55 am.


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