Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Developer tries to save money at community expense, but Lib Dem councillors put their foot down

Builder tries to cut contribution to community facilities

A national housing developer as been forced to wake up and think again about their contribution to a planning application for homes houses in Yate. Prior to the South Gloucestershire Council’s Development Control East meeting Taylor Wimpey had tried to back out of its Section 106 agreement with the council, which included a contribution of £150,000 towards a community building. However, Lib Dem members were in no mood to accept the revised plans which were presented and convinced the committee to hold the builder to their original more sustainable proposals.

Developer forced to wake up to sustainable housing

The developer also wanted to reduce the environmental standards of the new housing, but councilors rejected this too. Councillor Linda Boon said after the meeting, “Outline approval for the development was given just last September, but Taylor Wimpey wanted to go back on issues agreed at the time because they say the site is no longer economically viable. However, it’s vitally important that we don’t let sustainability and environmental standards slip just because a developer opportunistically claims the recession means they can’t keep their side of the deal.”

She continued, “To those not involved in planning matters it might not seem much difference but we all know and understand how cold the weather can be and it’s essential that new properties are built with better energy efficiency in mind. We want to make sure people who buy the new homes are helped to keep their bills down as well as avoiding wasting energy by it going straight out through the roof or windows. It’s a great day for the environment and planet when will these developers wake up to the new world"

Development contribution is not a voluntary tax

Councillor Alan Lawrance, who is also on the committee, said, “The Community and future residents needed defending against a national building developer seeking the kind of support Gordon Brown gave the banks. The Council doesn’t make unnecessary demands it just asks for a fair and sustainable deal for South Gloucestershire residents and communities. If there’s been a contribution requested then that is because it’s needed to maintain the services and facilities for the existing residents when under pressure from increased numbers of those moving in or it’s because it is needed in order to provide additional services or facilities for the new inhabitants”

He continued, “Having signed an agreement a few months ago in September the developer now wanted to break promises and save money at the expense of the Community, including breaking pledges to support the library, a new community hall contribution and reducing a commitment to pay for maintenance costs on open spaces. What the developer wanted to save would have in time had to be paid for by local people."

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