A housing developer has won its battle to reduce payments towards affordable housing in Blackpool.
Kensington Developments was due to pay £9m, agreed as part of planning permission to build 584 homes on land off Moss House Road, Marton Moss, and another £1.6m following planning approval for 83 houses at Runnell Farm, off Midgeland Road.
But after the company appealed, a planning inspector has reduced the payments to £5m for Moss House Road and £350,000 for Runnell Farm. Blackpool Council today said it was disappointed with the decision.
Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “As I have said throughout, I believe we were more than reasonable in agreeing to backload the schedule of payments towards the end of the schemes to help unlock the development.
“Everybody knows we need new affordable housing in Blackpool and we believe the developer should have honoured its obligations to Blackpool and its residents.”
The money had been earmarked for regeneration of the resort’s inner areas.
Lytham-based Kensington argued that falling house prices at the time and rising building costs mean it was no longer financially viable for it to pay up.
Blackpool Council’s planning committee approved the application for land on Moss House Road in 2010, despite huge opposition from residents angry at the loss of green land. However, the £9m payment as a commuted sum in compensation for the loss of the open space was seen as a major consideration in favour of the plans.
Both payments are part of 106 Agreements, which previously could not be altered for five years, but new planning legislation introduced last year means developers can now apply to vary or remove 106 agreements earlier.
Kensington Developments did not respond to a request for a comment.