A DEVELOPER claims affordable housing and infrastructure demands by South Lakeland District Council are jeopardising new homes.
Oakmere Homes warned the authority ‘enhanced requests’ made by officials were having an ‘impact on the viability’ of developments in the district.
The company spoke out as its plans for a new housing estate in Kendal faced opposition from planners because it failed to offer sufficient affordable housing.
The application for 148 homes on land to the west of Oxenholme Road will be considered by SLDC’s planning committee on Tuesday, but officials are recommending refusal as the ‘anticipated provision’ of affordable housing would fall well below the 35 per cent of low-cost homes required by district policy.
It was also feared the scheme would ‘adversely impact’ on local schools. The plan is also being challenged by the Triangle Opposition Group (TOG), which represents 200 local residents, and has attracted 82 individual letters of objection.
TOG said the application would ‘terminally damage the Green Gap between Kendal and Oxenholme’ and could also ‘seriously prejudice’ a public inquiry into housing developments in South Lakeland.
“The application seeks to pre-empt the inspector’s evaluation of (South Lakeland’s) Land Allocation Development Plan Document and takes no account of the significant opposition to the allocation of the site,” said TOG.
But Oakmere said its application had been formulated prior to the start of the inquiry.
A spokesman said: “Oakmere Homes has been involved in extensive discussions with SLDC over the Oxenholme Road planning application and has gone a long way in designing a development that would have significant benefits to the area.
“An outstanding issue relates to infrastructure contributions. Developers or landowners have contributed significant sums towards improvements for the benefit of local people.
“Recent changes in national legislation and enhanced requests from the local authority have increased the contribution demand, which impacts on the viability of developments – not only this scheme, but all developments within the Development Plan documents.
“We believe the Oxenholme Road development can be viable and will create new homes and new jobs for local people, and Oakmere remains committed to working with SLDC to create a solution that will deliver significant benefits to the economy.”
Meanwhile, SLDC bosses say they are hoping the inquiry into land allocations will resume in May. Proceedings were suspended in November 2012 after concerns were raised over infrastructure issues, including the need for more primary school places in the district.
Last week, the authority asked a planning inspector to reconvene the inquiry.