a BID to cut the number of affordable homes built in Langley Mill has been rejected.
Councillors on Amber Valley’s planning board voted against a move by developers Miller Homes to build six social homes instead of the 32 it had agreed in 2008.
The building firm, which applied to build 107 homes on land off Cromford Road in 2008, also wants to reduce its contribution to local education from £125,220 to £77,316 asked for as part of the scheme.
Cllr Norman Bull said: “Six affordable homes on a site of this size is an insult. It would create difficulties for the six families – they would be pilloried.”
Cllr Eileen Hamilton told the board that there were 20 families on the waiting list for every social home in Amber Valley. She said: “The only people to suffer will be people on waiting lists. Approving this will set a dangerous precedent.”
Cllr Alan Cox said: “If it’s not affordable now it wasn’t affordable in 2008. Did the developer send it in the full knowledge that he would come back and try and change it?
“There’s a danger if we turn this down we won’t get any houses at all. We can’t force the developer to do anything. He can keep coming back with planning applications. The only person who doesn’t suffer is the land owner. Why can’t he take half a million off?”
Cllr Allen King said: “How can we dictate to the developers what price to pay? They’re the ones taking the risk. When were we given the power to tell builders what they should pay and how much they should charge? It seems as though we are blackmailing this company.”
An independent chartered surveyor pronounced the current scheme ‘unviable’ and estimated that the developers would either make a loss of 6.08 per cent, or the value of the land would have to drop by £317,000.
Council chief executive Peter Carney had advised councillors to decide with ‘their heads and not their hearts’ and make their decision based on issues of policy. He said: “I would beg you to deal with what’s in the report. There may well be justifiable reasons why the developer has found himself in this situation. Moving into other areas of supposition could supply ammunition for a challenge.”
The original planning application was refused in 2008, only to be approved six months later. Miller Homes appealed against the initial decision and the Secretary of State awarded Miller Homes costs.
No one from the firm was available for comment.