S106 Management acted for the applicant in several capacities on this large brownfield site previously allocated for supermarket provision within Holsworthy.
This site had previously been allocated in the local plan for provision of a supermarket. However, since this allocation a large Waitrose had been built directly nearby satisfying the previously identified need, and since this marketing activities had failed to find a commercial buyer for the site due to the competition relative to the population of the settlement.
S106 Management provided planning and design support, architectural services and viability assessment, as well as advice on justification for change of use from commercial to residential allocation. All evidence suggested that due to the considerable cost of demolition and remediation of the site, and the lack of marketing interest in a commercial use due to saturation of the local market, an alternative use was needed for the site and policy ambitions for affordable housing would not be achievable due to viability.
S106M's viability reporting and negotiations applied vacant building credit to reduce the applicable contribution down to 1 unit, while viability reporting and negotiations with the District Valuer concluded in agreement that the full 13.5 unit affordable housing allocation should be commuted to a significantly lower £85,039 sum primarily on the basis of the high costs of demolition, remediation and redeveloping the site.
Vacant Building Credit is a high-level national direction which is interpreted differently in different local authorities; however ultimately its application is designed to encourage reuse of brownfield land over greenfield and optimise this land.
In this case the subject site had been vacant for some time, and with no interest in commercial redevelopment would have further degraded over time. The consented scheme will demolish, remediate and regenerate the area, providing much needed housing in a highly sustainable location, and a new, sustainable use for a site.
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