Report of the Chief Executive.
The Cabinet Member with the Resources Portfolio introduced the report of the Chief Executive (previously circulated) requesting that consideration be given to in principle approval, to the delivery of residential properties for private sale on Neasham Road, Cell C, as shown on the plan (also previously circulated) and to the release of funding, for Esh Homes Ltd, to undertake the preliminary surveys to seek detailed planning permission for the proposal.
The submitted report stated that in accordance with Minute C29/Sep/20, planning permission was obtained at Neasham Road for circa 450 homes, of which one third would be affordable and one third privately built by the Joint Venture (JV) and that outline planning permission was obtained for a 100 per cent affordable scheme, most likely via a Registered Social Landlord, for Cell C.
It was reported that the intention was for Cell C to be marketed as an opportunity for a Registered Social Landlord to deliver additional affordable homes, however, an affordable scheme on Cell C was not now considered viable, due to the changes since the first report in 2020, with new building regulations being introduced, biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality and cost increases in the sector more generally, had all contributed to increased development costs and strain on viability. As a result, it was felt prudent to explore the opportunity for Cell C to be developed for 100 per cent private homes.
Discussion ensued on the loss of the 150 affordable homes on the site; whether the Council could develop the site; the impact on the development from the loss of the affordable housing; and the planning process. The Cabinet Member with the Resources Portfolio responded thereon.
RESOLVED – (a) That the delivery of new housing for private sale on Cell C, as shown on the plan appended to the submitted report, be approved, in princple.
(b) That the release of funding for Esh Homes Ltd to undertake the preliminary surveys and seek detailed planning permission for the Cell C site, with sale terms being reported back to Cabinet for consideration, in accordance with Appendix 2 of the submitted report, be approved.
(c) That the Assistant Director of Economic Growth and Assistant Director Law and Governance be authorised to deal with any related matters and associated documents accordingly.
REASON – To accelerate the building of new homes helping to meet the demand in Darlington.