Published: June 8, 2010
£150k community costs prompt town centre flats project re-think

Plans to convert the site of Burnham-On-Sea's former Tucker's Garage into a new development of 27 flats will be reconsidered by the district council next week after the developer said it cannot afford to pay £150,000 for community facilities as part of the project.

In April, reported that the original planning application had been given the go-ahead on the condition that the developers, Abracore Limited, provided £150,000 towards community facilities in the town as part of a so-called 'S106 agreement'.

The original sum of £75,000 was deemed too low by councillors, who wanted double the amount.

However, the developer has since come back and said that it is not able to provide £150,000 "for viability reasons" and the application therefore has to return to Sedgemoor's Development Control Committee where members will re-consider the application.

The council's Affordable Housing Manager, Duncan Harvey, explained: "This application was previously considered by the Development Control Committee. At that time, members were presented with an affordable housing offer which, if accepted, would provide the authority with a small £75,000 commuted sum in lieu of any on site provision. Members asked that further discussions took place to increase the value of this offer."

"The delicate economic status of this project and the prevailing economic climate has made it that much harder to commit funds to making a start-on-site. Reduced anticipated revenue from sales, linked with an expensive build cost both contribute to making this a finely balanced housing project."

"The developer has provided an updated detailed financial appraisal for this project – this reaffirms that even if the scheme were built and sold at full open market values, the project is barely viable. The current offer cannot be increased at this time."

The application will be reconsidered next Tuesday (June 15th) at the June meeting of Sedgemoor's Development Control Committee.


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