The Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum supports this application, albeit reluctantly in the context of a likely maximum 10% affordable housing provision, subject to the satisfactory resolution of the potentially adverse impacts on the local road network of the very high density development proposed.
Given the requirements of planning law and national policy guidance, this means that the Council cannot require MODA to provide any affordable housing and that the decision whether to proceed with the scheme providing some level of affordable units is at the discretion of the applicant.
The land-owner, Coal Pension Properties Limited, used this discretion to offer 10% of the rented units at 75% of market rents for a period of 15 years, stating that ‘…for the avoidance of doubt, in the event that the application is refused or deferred on 4 March 2020 then this offer shall be treated as withdrawn’
This is a disappointingly low level, given that recent national planning policy guidance for Build to Rent homes states that:
‘.…20% is generally a suitable benchmark for the level of affordable private rent homes to be provided (and maintained in perpetuity) in any build to rent scheme’
– Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Guidance on Build to Rent 13.09.18 p 2
The Forum therefore requests the Council to negotiate further with the developers – albeit at the last minute- to secure a higher level of affordable housing units. This would enable more households on modest incomes to live in the development, thus contributing to its social diversity – a further demonstration of MODA’s goodwill towards the development of the new Hove Station Quarter.