Planning permission had been given for 2 dwellings, subject to a Section 106 agreement that one of the dwellings was to be affordable. Our client, a local builder, wanted to purchase the site but without the restriction (The Section 106 had not been signed). We advised that an application for 2 open market houses would be appropriate and that a viability assessment should be made showing that even 1 affordable dwelling on this site would be unviable.
Following the resubmission and Viability Assessment the Local Planning Authority agreed and granted permission for 2 unencumbered residential properties, and without restricting occupancy to local people either.
Our clients’ family owned a small traditional cottage in a sensitive costal location. They wished to move to live there and bring up their own family. The existing cottage was far too small and it was unviable to extend further as previous unsympathetic conversions had rendered parts of the cottage unstable. The LPA were approached and pre-application discussions were instigated. A replacement dwelling was advocated and the design team produced a proposal that was both contemporary and sympathetic to the sites’ setting in the countryside.
The application was finally approved as a replacement dwelling with all Design and Housing policies being complied with. However the site was formerly in the hands of the National Trust, who had to approve the design. They have not, and we are now in negotiation with the Trust to find an acceptable compromise.
Our clients have built their own home in the full knowledge of the Section 106 Agreement that restricted occupancy to local persons. At the time of near completion they sought to obtain a mortgage but the banks were unwilling to lend because of the restrictive occupancy condition.
Our clients made an impassioned plea (and formal application) to the Local Planning Authority to discharge the Section 106. The LPA refused and we were brought on board to advise. We advised that an appeal would be worthwhile as there were so many precedents that had seen these types of Agreements discharged in the past.
An appeal was duly lodged and a Hearing requested. In the meantime the LPA, having lost an identical appeal (as they surely would have in our case anyway), changed their minds on our client’s application and referred the matter back to committee. The LPA subsequently approved the discharge of the Section 106, but had allowed an appeal to be lodged and all work done up to the date of the Hearing.
The appeal has been withdrawn and a costs application against the Council is pending…