Developer could add more affordable homes at controversial Milford site, says council

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Milford villagers protesting for more affordable homes at the School Lane site

CONTROVERSIAL housing proposals on the edge of Milford could viably provide six more affordable homes than claimed by the developer, council planners have agreed.

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An independent assessment of the site off School Lane for New Forest District Council suggested the 43-unit plans by Pennyfarthing Homes could have 25 cheaper properties instead of the 19 proposed.

As reported by the A&T, Pennyfarthing’s application was blocked earlier this year by NFDC’s planning committee for not containing enough affordable dwellings.

There has since been a protest by campaign group SLAM (School Lane and Manor Road) in which more than 100 people marched against building on the site near the village primary school.

The latest analysis was carried out by property consultancy Vail Williams for NFDC in advance of a three-day public inquiry in February after Pennyfarthing appealed the refusal.

After the findings were approved by the planning committee Pennyfarthing said it was “considering” the figures.

The report, based on new government guidance, said: “The new viability evidence from Vail Williams indicates the site could reasonably provide not less than 60% affordable housing.”

NFDC’s suggested mix comprised 17 open market houses with 25 affordable units with flats, terraced and semi-detached homes.

The main sticking point is that the land was previously taken out of the protected green belt on condition that any development there was 70% affordable.

Pennyfarthing’s rejected scheme had proposed 45% for the site, comprising 23 properties on the open market and 19 cheaper ones – including seven “starter homes” which were only recently classified by the government as affordable.

In its appeal case, NFDC said: “Whilst a 60% provision of affordable housing, with the remainder to be high cost market housing, still falls short of development plan targets, such a scheme would enable the site to come forward whilst achieving a better balance between policy aspirations and delivery of the right types of housing to meet local needs.”

Guy Peirson-Hagger, strategic planning manager at Pennyfarthing, said: “Having now had the chance to view New Forest District Council’s statement of case, we will be considering the points raised around the viability of our proposed plans for the land in School Lane in Milford.

“Our considered response will form part of Pennyfarthing’s evidence for the forthcoming appeal against the refusal of planning permission.”

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