Fenland Council says affordable housing can be dropped from 57 homes schemes at Manea after agreeing viability assessment

Site layout for the 57 homes proposed for Manea

Site layout for the 57 homes proposed for Manea - Credit: Archant

Fenland Council is to drop the requirement for 14 affordable houses on a 57 home site at Manea after developers said they couldn’t afford to go ahead if it was imposed.

57 homes proposed for Manea: part of the correspondence dealing with viability of the scheme

57 homes proposed for Manea: part of the correspondence dealing with viability of the scheme - Credit: Archant

Matthew Homes have been in talks with the council over the homes planned for land off Teachers Close and a decision will be made next week.

Council officials have been shown – and accepted- a viability test by the developers and as a result have removed the affordable houses from the scheme.

Matthew Homes will be asked to make other section 106 (community benefit) payments.

“The scheme has been through a viability exercise and although not all of the policy requirements can be secured, it is considered that the benefits of bringing the scheme forward now outweigh any concerns in this regard,” says a report to Fenland Council planning committee.

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“Overall the development is therefore considered to be acceptable subject to planning conditions and a section 106 agreement.”

Talks with the developers have secured agreement that Matthew Homes will still provide

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•£123,697 towards education

•£653 towards libraries and life long learning

•£85,232,232.81 towards off-site affordable housing

•£39,767.19 towards Manea station master plan

Officers say national planning guidelines require them to take into account viability tests and a flexible approach is sometime needed.

“In this case it is considered that bringing forward the development now is sufficient to outweigh the deficiency in infrastructure which this development cannot provide at this time,” says their report.

The site originally had permission for 43 homes but Fenland believe 57 homes makes “more effective” use of the land; the first application for 57 homes earlier this year was withdrawn for more talks.

Current proposals have been supported by the parish council although they want lorry times for site deliveries to be halted when children enter and leave school.

The county council says the £123,697 will be used for pre-school and primary education only as there is sufficient capacity over the next five years to accommodate the secondary school plans generated by the development.

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