Could the CeramTec development end up not providing affordable homes? What’s to stop Homes England selling on to another developer?

A: There is as yet no guarantee of affordable homes on the site. Homes England is entitled to apply what is known as Vacant Building Credit on this development. This applies where a building/s is demolished and replaced by a new building/s. In either case, the gross floorspace of the relevant vacant building/s can be used as a ‘credit’ when the Local Planning Authority calculates any affordable housing contribution. Vacant floorspace can potentially offset the affordable housing requirements for any given site by a proportion relating to the quantum of existing floorspace compared to that proposed. However, Homes England have chosen to include a percentage of affordable housing in their proposals in order to create a balanced scheme overall. The percentage of affordable housing proposed is less than would be prescribed by policy, were policy to apply in this case. There is no guarantee that the proposed number of affordable homes will be ultimately be provided as this will depend upon the outcome of the planning application process and requirements for other contributions to make the scheme acceptable in planning terms. In addition much of the site proposed for development is outside the current built up area boundary and as such the current proposals may be considered non policy compliant, in which case the current scheme would need to be redesigned excluding this area. Homes England proposes to dispose of this site via a tender process to select a developer partner. In doing so, Homes England will retain a freehold interest through the life of the development, and will use that to control the number of affordable homes finally built.