Owen Devenport were instructed to submit an application to remove a section 106 planning obligation which was originally imposed to reduce the value of a dwelling to make it affordable to local people. However, it was clear that the value of the property was far beyond the level that could be considered to be affordable even when its value was reduced by the level required in the obligation.
We submitted a detailed case to the Council including valuations from local surveyors and calculations of the required income to finance a mortgage on the property to show that the price of property even when discounted was beyond the reach of local people in affordable need. We also provide details of a number of other properties on the available on the open market locally that could be bought for less than the value of the property. We argued that the result of the agreement was simply to discount the value of the property for local persons who could already afford a property on the local market, and so it was not justified for planning purposes.
The Council disagreed with our stance insisting that the property was made more affordable by the Obligation, and that the applicant should following the marketing process set out in the obligation to tests whether the dwelling would meet local affordable needs.
Having considered the Council’s decision we advised our clients to appeal, and made our case on the lack of affordability of the dwelling, the availability of dwellings on the open market at a lower price, and that to require our clients to follow the marketing procedure in the obligation despite the fact that the property was not affordable would be a meaningless exercise as the property could not be considered to be an affordable dwelling. The Inspector agreed with our arguments on all points and allowed the appeal and removed the planning obligation.