Building firm slammed over U-turn on affordable homes at Derbyshire development

A housing developer is looking to ditch a commitment to build affordable homes in Derbyshire, saying it would lose millions of pounds in profits.

By Eddie Bisknell, local democracy reporter
Friday, 23rd April 2021, 8:58 am

Langridge Homes Limited says it cannot afford to provide the agreed 28 affordable homes in the final phases of its 349-home Church Farm development in Peasehill Road, Ripley.

Instead, it is proposed that eight affordable homes will be built.

This comes after extensive talks with Amber Valley Borough Council, which carried out an independent viability assessment of the scheme, comparing notes with the applicant’s assessment.

The building firm says it would lose millions if it built the affordable homes

Borough council planning officers have recommended that the developer be allowed to reduce its affordable housing commitments, with councillors set to make a decision on Monday, April 26.

The overall 349-home development, approved in June 2015, is nearing completion and homes are for sale starting at £300,000.

Langridge’s final two phases of its development include 87 homes and were due to include 28 affordable properties – offered at lower sale prices or on fixed lower rents.

Building 28 affordable homes as part of the remaining 87 properties would result in a loss of £2.76 million on that section of the development, the developer’s assessment found.

THe Derrbyshire Times is campaigning for the right kind of housing toi be built in the right places in the county

The applicant’s assessment found that a development of 87 homes, if none were affordable housing, would still result in a loss of £959,000, due to costs linked to the site, including large underground sewer chambers.

Ripley Town Council has objected to the developer’s plans to heavily reduce its affordable housing plans, writing: “Ripley Town Council oppose this proposal and wish to express their frustration and distaste at this request from the developer. The planning authority are urged to uphold this requirement for this development.”

The applicant’s agent told the borough council that “the delivery of this quantum of affordable housing has a very significant impact on the viability of the development and therefore its deliverability”.

Council planning officers, recommending approval, wrote: “Whilst it is regrettable that the scheme cannot deliver the 30 per cent affordable housing, being pragmatic and to ensure that the scheme continues to be constructed and provide for housing, the proposal represents a sustainable form of development, a recommendation of approval is put forward.”