Developer for 250 properties off Nash Road asks to cut affordable homes from 75 to 45

Where homes will be built

Developers of a proposed 250 homes on land by Salmestone Grange in Margate have asked Thanet council to reduce the amount of affordable properties that need to be supplied.

Piper Developments Ltd want permission to provide 18% of the site as affordable homes – split 70% affordable rent and 30% shared ownership – instead of the requirement for 30%.

Shared Ownership is affordable low cost home ownership for those on median incomes, whereas “affordable rent” housing provides accommodation for those on low incomes in need of housing, managed through housing associations at a rent of up to 80% of local market rent (capped at Local Housing allowance rate).

Piper Development says providing the full 30% – around 75 homes- would make the scheme on farmland off Manston Road and Nash Road, financially non-viable. The request would reduce this to 45 affordable homes.

A report to councillors says: “Whilst there is an overall need for affordable housing in the district and to increase housing options for residents, affordable rent properties provide accommodation for those on the Council’s housing register, with 100% nomination rights secured by the Council in Section 106 agreements on planning permissions. This type of affordable housing is the most needed in the district.”

The proposal is for 45 x 1 and 2 bed apartments, 65 x 2 bed 110 x 3 bed and 30 x 4 bed homes.

The application also outlines road changes with the:

* Provision of new link road between Nash Road and Manston Road, with new roundabout on Manston Road for access into the site (and new service road for properties on Manston Road) and alteration to Nash Road to bring road directly through the site.

* Closure of Nash Road arm of Coffin House Corner, meaning Nash Road only links to Empire Terrace and not junction with Shottendane and Hartsdown Road, with changes to signalling.

* Change in road layout at Manston Road/Shottendane Road junction.

The development, adjacent to the Grade II* listed Salmestone Grange, provoked almost 30 objections when it first came before Thanet council in 2017.

The  “link road” will be between Manston Road and Nash Road and the proposals include 450 parking spaces, 50 visitor spaces and additional layby provision and parking for the school drop off/pickups plus footways from Nash Road to a new school entrance.

Margate Civic Society said at the time that there were “substantial shortfalls in the related infrastructural proposals relating predominantly to roads, schooling, shopping facilities, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries.”

The society added: “We highlight in particular perceived serious shortcomings within the proposal relating to the closure of Nash Road and the re-routing of all traffic through the proposed new estate, culminating on a roundabout at the junction with Manston Road – a surefire recipe for traffic chaos, particularly at times when the tip is experiencing heavy use.”

However, approval was given for the scheme in August 2017. In May 2018 the applicant submitted a viability assessment asking for reduced obligations.

This is now due to be discussed by councillors on the planning committee on August 5.

The land was initially valued at £4.14million  but this has now been reduced to £3.1million. The cost of the road works has been estimated at £3,820,469.

Required developer contributions are:

£589,950 towards Secondary school provision for the expansion of Ursuline College Westgate-on-Sea or the new Thanet Secondary school (reduced)

£5156.77 towards portable equipment for new learners in Margate

£14,860 towards the refurbishment of the Quarterdeck Youth Club in Margate.

£12,003.95 towards library provision in Margate.

£15,000 towards the provision of two bus stops and shelters within the proposed link road through the site.

£87,000 Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) plan (reduced)

Contribution for primary school provision removed due to highways improvements, when delivered, will allow the expansion of St Gregory’s school.

These contributions reduce the Residual Land Value to £2.8 million.

A developer profit allowance of 20% of GDV of the market housing and 6% on the affordable housing has been assumed within the viability report, with a total profit of £1.07million predicted.

Advice to recommend approval

The report to councillors says: “It is important to consider the current uncertainty around the property and housebuilding market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the requirement to bring significant strategic highways infrastructure with the site, requiring to bring forward wider highway benefits to support housing growth in the district. Therefore, it is considered reasonable to agree to a reduced affordable housing provision on site.”

Planning officers have recommended that councillors defer the planning application to officers for approval subject to securing a legal agreement for the provision of 18% affordable housing on site and other planning obligations.