Affordable housing for Bath Quays North binned due to being ‘an additional cost burden’

Affordable housing for Bath Quays North binned due to being ‘an additional cost burden’

Bath council’s flagship regeneration project in Bath Quays North won’t have any affordable housing on the basis that it will cost too much to implement.

Bath and North East Somerset Council submitted an online planning application for a new commercial quarter for the businesses in the city near Churchill Bridge.

The plan in question will include the delivery of up to 250,000 square metres of office space, while a minimum of 70 new homes are to be made for local people, as well as a modern basement car park.

However, the plan has come under criticism after the planning statement revealed that the council council won’t be providing any affordable housing as a result of the current market conditions, and the finance required in order to deliver the scheme.

The Bath Chronicle got in touch with the council to find out their reasoning behind this, but instead were told to refer to their viability statement.

“Our viability appraisal demonstrates that in all scenarios, including those providing a nil affordable content, a viability deficit is produced,” it states.

“As would be expected this becomes significantly greater with the inclusion of a 30 per cent affordable content which forms an additional cost burden to the scheme.

“The primary reason for this deficit is due to the burden of ‘abnormal’ on and off site costs, including the significant costs in relation to the requirement for provision of on-site basement parking and offsite enabling works.

“In providing our assessment we have tested a range of options that would be possible within the parameters proposed within the outline planning application and confirm these options represent an appropriate mix of scenarios to form a judgement on scheme viability.

“Having considered these options we conclude that the outline planning application returns a viability deficit under all scenarios tested and is not able to provide a policy compliant (30 per cent) or indeed any affordable housing based on current market conditions and the costs required to deliver the scheme.”

While the plan states that there will be a minimum of 70 residential properties, it’s very possible that there could be as many as 250 homes that are included as part of the development.

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