Affordable housing could be dropped from former Billingborough haulage yard scheme

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Companies redeveloping the former Grimer’s Transport site in Billingborough into 46 homes could end up providing nothing towards affordable housing after it found ‘abnormal costs’.

Councillors on South Kesteven District Council’s Development Management Committee could be set to approve two applications considering the plans.

One item appearing next Tuesday, June 26, which will see the demolition of existing industrial buildings and associated structures on the site (except for the former railway station), originally appeared before councillors in July of last year.

It will see the site redeveloped for 23 homes, and is one of two plans to build housing on the site.

Members deferred a decision last year to ask for more information relating to the viability of the plans where developer Peter Burrows of Lindpet Properties asked councillors not to include affordable housing due to ‘abnormal costs’.

They included demolition and site clearance, removal of hardstanding, clearing contaminated material, building special foundations and special drainage.

The developer estimates this will leave only a 3.74 per cent profit from the scheme, a Valuation Office Agency (VOA) report estimated higher at 11.4 per cent. 

Government guidelines give a reasonable profit range for making a s106 on affordable housing of 17.5-20 per cent.

Next Tuesday, members will be told that a section 106 requirement to provide affordable housing would be ‘unviable’ and recommended to approve the plans.

Councillors will also consider an application to take the affordable housing requirement off another set of plans.

The proposal, which will also see 23 homes built, was originally approved after being made by Lindpet Property’s in October, 2015, when members asked for £38,030 for ‘off-site’ affordable housing in nearby villages along with £16,907 towards upgrading recreational facilities in Billingborough.

The application on Tuesday would seek to remove the affordable housing aspect.

According to a report before the councillors, applicant Mike Downes of Aspbury Planning, has since carried out further site surveys on the premises and found that there would be additional ‘abnormal’ costs similar to those above.

The developer estimates a profit of 7.2 per cent profit and the VOA estimates 13.2 per cent.

Councillors will be told next Tuesday that ‘sufficient evidence’ has been submitted to justify the removal and advised to grant the application.