Bexley planners have agreed that a large amount of “affordable” housing can be removed from a plan due before Bexley Council’s planning committee next week.
A previous plan for homes in Belvedere beside Picardy Way and Yarnton Way was approved with 69 homes including 24 “affordable”.
Developers now want to increase overall homes to 90, but reduce “affordable” housing to zero.
Instead they seek to pay £700,000, which would buy about two homes off the market, or build very few new homes. Far less than the initial 24 approved, let alone a percentage increase in line with overall numbers being upwardly revised.
Bexley planners state it has been independently verified. Not all independently verified reports are of good quality.
Bexley have a long history of approving developments with zero affordable homes with the knock-on affect of a lack of social housing, thus forcing the council to pay extremely expensive overnight housing costs for those in temporary and emergency housing.
This was a key factor in budget problems seen in recent years.
Bottom in London
A report in March 2021 showed Bexley bottom of 32 London councils for new social housing.
Bexley were so poor at gaining “affordable” housing from developers – let alone social homes – that the authority itself eventually stated they needed to train staff to gain greater knowledge of viability assessments.
It’s those viability assessments that developers continue to use to justify little to no affordable housing.
It’s common to see across London and beyond, but many authorities kick back – either during negotiations before a decision is made or at planning meetings.
Bexley have often rolled over – which in turn is costing the authority and taxpayer millions of pounds.
It’s interesting that developments in Bexley appear to be less viable compared to every other London authority – and many plans just over the border in Dartford.
Apart from a £700,000 in place of any affordable housing, the developer is offering nothing for transport, health or education via Section 106 payments. The only other allocation is a carbon off-set payment of £63,280.
New Homes Bonus
Council’s receive a payment by Government for every new home built – with a bonus for affordable homes. Greenwich will see £7.3 million this year from the New Homes Bonus fund. Bexley just £310,000.
It’s all contributing to Bexley’s financial problems and service cuts.