Developers could lose planning permission over lack of affordable homes

Brighton and Hove
Brighton and Hove

Officials are putting fresh pressure on developers in Brighton and Hove as they seek to increase the number of affordable homes being built.

A scheme to build flats and offices on the site of Portslade Panel Works, on the corner of Orchard Gardens and Nevill Road, Hove, may be rejected.

And officials may also throw out plans to turn the Preston Park Hotel in Preston Road, Brighton, into flats.

In a move that could also tackle the council’s planning department workload, two developers have been warned that they could lose their conditional planning permission unless they act.

The two schemes – for 45 flats in total – were given conditional planning permission in June last year and October 2016 respectively.

The conditions included signing an agreement to include a total of 19 ‘affordable’ flats but the agreements still haven’t been signed.

Planning officer Jonathan Puplett told Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee that neither scheme’s developers had yet signed a deal.

And he said that there were no clear reasons for the delays – a point contested in each case by the developers’ agents.

Issues with banks and potential buyers were cited as reasons for the delay.

After months of effort from officers, agents finally got in touch on the day of the planning meeting, although one said that the council appeared to be ignoring legal correspondence when saying that there had been no progress.

The agreements would also mean about £225,000 in developer contributions being paid to the council to spend on schools, transport and parks and open spaces.

After the meeting, Councillor Julie Cattell, who chairs the planning committee and has spoken about the need to tackle ‘land-banking’ by developers, said: “We need housing and it’s important that applicants are focused on fulfilling their side of the bargain when they seek planning permission.”

Councillors were reluctant to turn down either application, instead opting to give the developers more time.

But if they fail to sign the agreements by Tuesday, August 7, they will be refused planning permission.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

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