LB Islington’s argument for lower affordable housing threshold in the Borough was accepted by the Inspector Debbie Moore by dismissing an appeal related to a basement extension in Holloway, North London.
The appeal site sits within the Hillmarton Conservation Area and comprises a semi-detached former house converted into three flats while the appellant sought permission for the excavation of part of the back garden to create a fourth basement flat.
Islington’s supplementary guidance document states that development of ten residential units or fewer must make a financial contribution to affordable housing elsewhere in the Borough. However, this policy is contrary to the Written Ministerial Statement (November 2014) where the exemption from affordable housing requirements for this size of developments is proposed to ‘relieve the disproportionate financial burden on small-scale developers’.
As a large proportion of the developments in Islington are of ten residential units or fewer, the council asked for a lower affordable housing threshold as it will not be able to deliver affordable housing without the financial contributions of these developments. Further to its argument, the Council referred to a 2016 Court of Appeal Judgement which found that the affordable housing threshold should be determined after examination of the ‘local circumstances’.
Concerning this case, the Inspector found that the absence of such contributions would compromise Islington’s ability to deliver its assessed need for affordable housing according to the London Plan arguing that the Development Plan outweigh the Ministerial Statement. Finally, she dismissed the appeal arguing that the unsatisfactory proposed living conditions and the absence of affordable housing contributions outweigh the proposal’s potential benefits.
There are several similar appeal examples within London Boroughs in particular Richmond. Inspectors have generally sided with the Local Authorities where they have an up-to-date development plan. Please contact WEA Planning for further advice.