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AFFORDABLE HOUSING RULING GOES AGAINST WESTMINSTER CITY COUNCIL

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Planning criteria requiring inclusion of affordable housing have been under high court scrutiny....
Planning criteria requiring inclusion of affordable housing have been under high court scrutiny.

Now a judge has overruled requirements by Westminster City Council that affordable housing provisions should be written into a scheme to convert three properties in its area into flats.

The validity of the requirement turned on whether development of the three properties, two of which were joined, should be considered together or as separate entities. If considered together then the council was entitled to make provision of affordable housing a condition of planning consent.

However, a government inspector held that even though the properties were owned by a developer and a company which were linked, the properties that were joined and the one which was not stood to be considered as two separate entities rather than two phases of the same development.

Taking into account the planning history of the site, the extent of the work carried out to join two of the properties and the fact the site was allocated to residential use in the unitary development plan, he took the view the properties should be treated separately for planning purposes and that in those circumstances planning consent should be granted without the affordable housing requirement.

Backing that view the high court rejected claims by the council that the inspector failed to take a 'global view' of the matter.

Mr justice Maurice Kay said he considered the inspector was entitled to take the view that the proposals were separate and not to be viewed as two phases of the same development. He said the inspector had stood back, taken a global view, and had reached a clear, permissible and lawful conclusion on the evidence.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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