Birmingham appeal win secures 280 affordable homes on windfall site

August 2, 2019 5:39 pm Published by

Tetlow King Planning (TKP) are delighted to have assisted Bloor Homes in securing permission for the development of 800 homes on an unallocated greenfield site in Birmingham.

Director James Stacey (TKP) provided expert affordable housing evidence at the Inquiry, successfully demonstrating that the provision of affordable housing within the city had collapsed with Right to Buy losses to affordable housing stock further exacerbating the deficit. TKP’s evidence sought to highlight the importance of delivering affordable housing in both a national and local policy context.

In refusing the application the council argued that the 35ha former golf course could not be considered a windfall due to its size and because it had been unsuccessfully promoted through the development plan process. When considering the definition of a windfall, the Inspector held that ‘nothing in the NPPF definition to support the council’s assertion that a site of 35ha should not be treated as a windfall site in Birmingham’, finding the councils approach to be ‘misguided’. The Inspector also awarded the appellant partial costs against Birmingham City council ‘on grounds of unreasonable behaviour on part of the council’.

The Council did not seek to challenge James’ evidence which painted a bleak picture of affordable housing delivery in Birmingham. Part of TKPs evidence sought to demonstrate that the council had routinely been securing contributions in lieu of affordable housing resulting in a severely depleted supply of affordable housing. The inspector stated, ‘That trend is likely to worsen over the short to medium term because of the heavy reliance in the 5YHLS on City Centre apartments schemes which, as the Council accepts, deliver little if any affordable housing.’

When considering the affordable housing need in Birmingham the inspector noted the already high levels of need had ‘shot up’ with more than 12,000 households now on the councils housing register. The Inspector declared that ‘against that level of need the net provision of only 151 affordable homes over the plan period to date is pitiful.’ He went on to conclude in no uncertain terms that ‘the provision of affordable housing in the City has collapsed.’

James Stacey says, ‘as with many council’s the impact of the Right to Buy losses from available affordable housing stock is ignored in their assessment of affordable housing delivery. This fundamentally misrepresents the actual availability of housing stock available to house the vast number of people in need. Which is the case of Birmingham is enormous.

It is easy to see that against the scale of need on the housing register of over 12,000 households the net delivery of just 151 houses in the last 5 years represents a deeply depressing situation, that can only be resolved by granting and building more homes. This is why the 280 affordable homes here is hugely important and formed a substantial benefit in the determination of the appeal, supported by the Inspector and the SOS.’

The appeal was led by Christopher Young QC at No5 Chambers. The wider team was led by Harris Lamb, with further assistance provided by David Tucker Associates,  Highgate land and development and FPCR Environment and Design Ltd.