CPRE Kent was disappointed, though not surprised, to see Gladman Developments given permission by appeal for 450 houses at Shottendane Road, near Margate. This was despite the scheme only offering half the required affordable housing.
For us, it is yet another sorry example of greenfield land being sacrificed to deliver developer profits rather than much-needed affordable housing. As we highlighted only this month, this thinking needs to change urgently.
Thanet, like Canterbury, has a significant need to provide affordable housing. In fact, the local authority has recently identified there needs to be 548 affordable homes built a year to rent .
However, last year, just 69 affordable houses were built in Thanet . Amazingly, this seemingly low number was in fact the highest amount by some margin achieved over the last five years – though still some way from the 548 needed.
Again like Canterbury, part of the reason so many affordable houses are needed is because market house prices have increased so significantly in recent years. For Thanet, it is by some 174 per cent since 2002. This is now at a point where only 27 per cent of current renters in Thanet have sufficient income to buy the cheapest quarter of open-market houses .
So why, with such a pressing affordable housing need, did the planning inspector agree with Gladman that only half the council’s requirement of 30 per cent affordable houses should be built?
Because if the inspector agreed any more than this, the development would not be deemed ‘viable’.
The viability appraisals submitted with the appeal supported this position and have now been subjected to robust scrutiny. They have been found to be technically correct and fully in line with Government policy.
Which makes it even more depressing when we consider they show :
• Gladman expects to sell 382 open-market homes for an average of £305,824.17. The median salary in Thanet is £24,444 per annum. That means each of these 382 homes will be 12.5 times the average Thanet salary.
• It has allowed just over £4.7 million to buy the land. This assumes that, while the existing farmland is worth £25,000 per hectare, it would need to offer at least 10 times this amount to entice the landowner to sell.
• The inspector agreed that the developer’s profit should be ringfenced at 17.5 per cent. This was appraised to equate to just over £21 million profit.
… which is probably why Barratt Developments (with pre-tax profits of £432.6m for the six months to December 31, 2021) has just brought Gladman Developments for £250 million.
Not bad work if you can get it.
Just don’t tell that to the people waiting for affordable housing.
- You can read the appeal decision here
- For more on the saga of Shottendane, click here
Tuesday, March 1, 2022