Affordable housing block given green light for garage site
- Credit: Vincent & Gorbing For LDRS partners
An "incredibly rare" opportunity for St Albans to offer offer 100 per cent affordable housing on a new development has won the backing of councillors.
The planning referrals committee unanimously backed the proposals to replace a car garage with a new fully affordable apartment block on the site of York House, Guildford Road.
Council officers recommended approval for the scheme, with the new site offering 25 affordable flats.
The block will include 16 one-bedroom apartments, and nine two-bedroom apartments.
The homes will be operated and maintained by Hightown Housing Association, which already operates a number of affordable housing schemes across the county.
Mark Schmull, of agents Arrow Planning, said the plans would address a need for affordable housing in St Albans, while also avoiding development on the Green Belt.
Mr Schmull said: “This scheme is incredibly rare as it will deliver the entire development as affordable housing on a brownfield site, something which is almost unique in the district at the moment.”
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The applicant had previously withdrawn an application for a larger scheme of 27 units, and the developers said the new application had taken concerns about overdevelopment of the site into consideration.
The application was called-in to the committee by Cllr Anthony Rowlands, who raised concerns with the scale and massing on the four-storey building, an impact on neighbouring properties and that the 25 parking spaces would be inadequate for the site.
Speaking during the meeting, Cllr Frances Leonard also raised concerns about the impact on daylight for some surrounding properties, but acknowledged the benefits of the scheme.
There were also points raised about the residential building being planned in a largely employment area, although it was noted other schemes are under way along Guildford Road.
Other councillors spoke highly of the proposals, with Cllr David Mitchell adding it was an “excellent opportunity for 25 affordable houses on a plot that will improve the local area, rather than diminish the local area.”
The plans were unanimously approved, subject to a Section 106 agreement which will include contributions to local parks, libraries and leisure centres.
Council officers also confirmed if developers later opt to provide any less than 100 per cent affordable housing they will need to reapply for planning permission.