Developer drops affordable housing from Grange Road scheme

Revised plans for a development in Bermondsey's Grange Road - approved in 2015 to include seven social rented homes - have been submitted to Southwark Council with all homes to be sold on the open market.

Developer drops affordable housing from Grange Road scheme
The existing building pictured in 2013

Eight years ago Southwark councillors approved plans for a seven-storey development at the corner of Grange Road and The Grange in Bermondsey.

The scheme included 20 flats, seven of which were to be let out at social rent levels by a housing association.

The site was notable because one of the walls used to carry a Banksy 'Haring Dog' mural.

Although the development got the green light from councillors, the formal planning permission was never issued because the legal agreement between the council and applicant was never signed.

Now the site has new owners who have submitted an updated planning application. The new scheme is broadly the same as the 2015 proposal except that 22 homes are now planned, and none of them are to be designated as affordable.

A document included with the new planning application sets out the history: "The draft Section 106 agreement to secure 7 x on-site affordable housing was subjected to viability testing in 2016 and 2017 and assessed as generating a deficit; it was judged by the previous applicant to be unviable.

"As a consequence the draft S106 agreement was not signed and planning permission not issued. The application was withdrawn by officers under delegated authority in June 2020. CMT Construction acquired the site in 2022."

The document continues: "The proposal does not incorporate the provision of affordable housing, in accordance with ... policy ... which requires the provision of a minimum of 35 per cent affordable homes with accompanying viability evidence."

It adds: "No on-site affordable housing will be provided across the tenures ... Subject to the results of a third-party financial appraisal viability review, the applicant may offer a sum in lieu of on-site affordable housing provision."

Earlier this week Southwark's cabinet member for climate emergency and sustainable development, Cllr James McAsh, told a meeting of the borough's environment and community engagement scrutiny commission that there had been a downturn in new housing schemes in the borough driven by high inflation in construction costs.

Cllr McAsh said: "If you look at planning committee agendas – recent and upcoming – you will notice that very, very few of them are for housing. That's not social rented housing, but housing in general.

"At the moment the market for housing is very challenging. There's a bit of a wobble in terms of sale prices, which I think is largely linked to interest rates and access to mortgages. So that's your demand-side pressure.

"At the same time you've got your supply-side pressure in terms of building costs. That's having massive repercussions on us in terms of our ability to deliver on our housing targets, and specifically our social rented housing targets."

See planning application 23/AP/0331
Tags: Planning & Development, Bermondsey, Southwark, Politics & local government

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