Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Westminster Tories let developers off nearly £900,000 in affordable housing contributions

Conservative Councillors on Westminster Council’s Planning Applications Sub Committee have voted to let two property developers off paying nearly £900,000 in affordable housing contributions as part of luxury housing developments. The two planning decisions, agreed on Thursday 9th June, were:

1. Oriental Club, 11 Stratford Place – The Conservatives granted planning permission to add 8 more bedrooms, plus other improvements, to improve the viability of the private members Club. The Council’s Planning officers calculated a payment of £288,000 was due as a contribution to the Council’s Affordable Housing Fund to offset the increase in commercial space and recommended refusal because the applicants had declined to pay.

2. 3 Down Street Mews, Mayfair – The Conservatives granted planning permission for 2 luxury houses, one with an underground swimming pool, and waived the required payment of £588,000, because the developer challenged the Council’s Planning officer’s calculation of size of the development and the viability of the project, even though no viability report was submitted by the developer.

Councillor Barbara Grahame, Labour’s member on the four person Planning Applications Sub-Committee voted against both decisions, and said; “What is the point of the Council having Affordable Housing policies if the Conservatives are prepared to ignore them? Both these development could have made a substantial contribution to meeting housing need in Westminster, but nearly £900,000 has now been lost and local residents living in overcrowded conditions will have to pay the price of the Conservatives’ failure to follow their own planning policies.”

via Labour Matters