16/04324/FUL & 16/04375/LBC – Former Trent Campus, Trent park, Enfield
1. The Head of Development Management wanted to update the Committee and seek agreement for a way forward regarding the above applications which were heard at the 18 July 2017 Committee meeting.
2. At that meeting, members resolved to grant planning permission for the development of the site, comprising 262 residential units, which included 58 affordable units. In response to concerns around accessibility and affordability of these units to general residents of the borough, the resolution allowed for a 6 month window, during which the Council in conjunction with the applicant (Berkeley Homes) was to look at ways in which the affordable housing could be delivered off site as a direct provision, on an alternative location or in the form of a financial contribution. The financial contribution could be put to existing developments and lead to an increase of the delivery of affordable housing.
3. Pursuant to this resolution, officers engaged the GLA in discussions regarding this option. Unfortunately, the indications were that the GLA and Mayor of London were not inclined to support this approach. Therefore further discussions involving the Council, Berkeley Homes and the GLA continued to explore how this agreement could be reached to realise the objective of the Committee resolution.
4. As a result of these discussions, it was now proposed that planning permission be granted subject to a legal agreement securing the 58 affordable housing units on site, but with a separate and concurrent undertaking with Berkeley Homes to use reasonable endeavours to reach an agreement with the Council regarding the re-provision of the affordable housing units at an alternative location or provide a direct financial payment in lieu of the on-site provision for the Council to use to deliver a net increase of an alternative scheme.
5. Berkeley Homes would then be committed to submitting a Deed of Variation to link the planning permission to the delivery of the off-site solution. Berkeley homes, to date, have provided a draft written commitment to this effect and the agreement will be signed by both Berkeley homes and the Council.
6. This approach has been reviewed by the Council’s legal advisers and whilst a more formal agreement under Section 111 of the Local Government Act could be entered into, its effects would probably have little additional weight to securing a desired outcome. It is therefore recommended that officers proceed on the basis of the following:
‘ a planning permission is granted subject to the legal agreement which requires the delivery of 58 affordable housing units on-site and we proceed with a side agreement that commits Berkeley Homes and the Council to enter into those discussions and commits them to making a Deed of Variation application’.
The advantage of this is that things can then progress quicker in terms of these schemes coming forward and to see if Members of the Committee wish to proceed on that basis.
7. Members’ debate and questions responded to by the Head of Development Management including the following points:
a. The 6 month proposal would start from when the decision is made and would not impact on the delivery and speed of the affordable housing units off-site or on-site.
b. The Council would now issue the decision in a few weeks’ time, allowing a 6 month negotiation window. If the 6 month window then closed, without agreement, the planning permission stands and the Council would be looking for on-site affordable housing.
c. If permission is reached, Berkley Homes are then required to make a Deed of Variation and as long as the Council are still delivering 58 affordable housing units, the application would not need to be referred to the GLA.
d. If agreement is reached for 58 affordable housing units to be built off-site, then the Council would be looking to do a deal with Berkley Homes to build these, using off-site land in the borough.
e. The Head of Development Management would keep the Committee informed of the discussions with Berkley Homes and would give members an opportunity to ask for any Deed of Variation to be considered by the Committee before signature
8. The unanimous support of the committee for the recommendation by the Head of Development Management.
AGREED the recommendation by the Head of Development Management.