Inspector awards very substantial weight to affordable housing in Dorking

February 12, 2024 4:55 pm Published by

Another appeal success for TKP where very special circumstances were demonstrated to allow for new affordable housing delivery in the Green Belt.

Due to unforeseen events after the submission of evidence, James Stacey, Managing Director at TKP was unable give evidence to the Inquiry. Annie Gingell, Associate Director at
TKP, adopted his evidence on affordable housing as her own and spoke to it.

TThe affordable housing evidence highlighted a substantial shortfall in the past delivery of affordable housing against identified needs. When looking forwards, the Council could
not show a five-year supply of affordable housing. This point was highlighted by the Inspector who set out that “The number of affordable homes coming forward looks to be substantially
below that level of delivery. This will mean the existing shortfall will only become worse.”

The Council’s affordable housing case partially relied on an emerging local plan whereby it was claimed that there would be an ‘uptick in delivery’ after adoption. However, the
Inspector recognised that this situation would not provide for those households who are in need of such housing now.

Perhaps most striking are the Inspector’s comments on the real world effects of not delivering enough affordable homes which were presented in evidence:

“The consequences of not providing enough affordable homes affect people. Being able to access good housing has a bearing upon everyday life and there are socio-economic effects such as financial security and stability, physical and mental health, decreased social mobility and adverse effects on children’s education and development. In Mole Valley the number of people on the housing register has risen, there are increasing affordability ratios and people are paying significantly over 30% of their income on rent.”

Assisted by the fact that the appeal was accompanied by a signed S106 Agreement, securing an above policy level of affordable housing at a suitable tenure split, the Inspector reasoned that the “affordable homes would make a sizeable contribution to addressing the acute and long-established shortfall which will not be fully addressed in the short term” and
awarded the provision of affordable housing very substantial weight.