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Luxury homes bid is blocked

Developer wanted to build 96 new homes at former Territorial Army centre, with only 10 per cent at affordable prices

30 June, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Former Territorial Army centre in Holloway where 96 homes were planned

IN a “landmark case” the Town Hall has won backing for its stance on affordable homes after a developer was refused permission for mostly luxury apartments at a Holloway site.

Developer First Base hoped to build 96 new homes at the former Territorial Army centre in Parkhust Road, with only 10 per cent at affordable prices.

First Base first submitted a planning application four years ago with no affordable homes but its designs were rejected twice because they did not offer the 50 per cent affordable homes required by council policy.

The developer appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which has sided with the council.

Explaining his decision, inspector Michael Boniface said: “I have had regard to the need to encourage rather than restrain development, and the need for flexibility in the application of planning policy, but this should not be at the expense of delivering much-needed affordable housing.

“Nor should an inflated land value be subsidised by a reduction in affordable housing.”

Housing chief Councillor Diarmaid Ward said: “This decision will ensure the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing is provided, and strongly discourage developers and landowners from manipulating the development viability process to deliver fewer affordable homes.”

Housing expert Dr Bob Colenutt said: “Islington is the most progressive borough in taking a more rigorous view with planning and viability assessments.

“The planning system has been manipulated by developers. It’s been easy for them because the government has been on their side, because local authorities have rolled over as developers can throw in so many surveyors and lawyers.”

A First Base spokes­man said: “We are disappointed that four years after acquiring the site from the Ministry of Defence at market value, we are still not able to deliver much-needed homes.

“Our track record in Islington speaks for itself – all our schemes deliver a significant amount of affordable homes and jobs and help build thriving mixed communities.”

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