BCP Council (Bournemouth):  Full planning permission has been secured by Darryl Howells, a director of Pure Town Planning for a new scheme of flats in Southbourne. The scheme was drawn by ARC Architecture Limited for our developer client Harlequin Homes. The proposal is for the demolition of an existing small block of 4 flats and the erection of a new four-storey contemporary building comprising 10 flats with additional car parking, vehicle access and refuse provision.

The previous application was refused then appealed.  The conclusion of the appeal saw Darryl win the majority of the design arguments around massing, height, form, parking provision and layout but the Planning Inspector raised two particular issues: overlooking to a neighbouring property and operational difficulties arising from underground refuse provision.

Upon receipt of the decision, Darryl spoke to the applicant and encouraged him to reapply for planning permission with a modified scheme. During the course of the debate with the planning officer, the design changes to overcome the overlooking were accepted, and following several discussions around private refuse collection, the planning officer finally agreed to this provision.

During the consideration of the application, the scheme was subject to a viability assessment undertaken by the DVS office for the Council to ascertain whether the scheme could deliver affordable housing.  The conclusion of the assessment alleged that the scheme could deliver £500,000 towards affordable housing.  Darryl and his viability consultant negotiated and reduced that figure by £100,000.  Prior to the applicant agreeing to pay that sum, the architect reminded Darryl the affordable housing contribution that would be applicable using the Council’s own affordable housing contribution tables, used when an applicant does not want to go through verification assessment.  Using the Council’s own figures, the final contribution to be paid was £138,000, which is a significant reduction from the original DVS figure.

The planning application was finally recommended for approval and approved under delegated powers.  The client is thrilled with the decision, and pleased that a positive outcome has been achieved despite difficult negotiations.

If you have a housing scheme that might trigger a contribution towards affordable housing, then contact one of our consultants who will be able to suggest a strategy that minimises that contribution or removes it, in order that you development can proceed and optimise the use of your site.