A planning inspector has granted permission for an £80 million scheme to build homes, shops and offices by Hove station.
Planning permission was granted by an independent inspector after the “Hove Gardens” project was turned down by Brighton and Hove City Council almost two years ago.
The council said that the developer Matsim should include 47 “affordable” homes among the 186 flats that it wants to build – 25 per cent of the total.
Matsim said that the costs of the scheme meant that it could afford to include only 35 affordable homes – or 19 per cent.
It even allowed the council to publish its valuation estimates to show its calculations and agreed to a review mechanism in the event that the scheme was more profitable than expected.
But changes in the housing market and higher construction costs led planning inspector Richard Allen to reduce the affordable housing requirement to just 10 per cent – or 19 flats.
Mr Allen said: “Being the first scheme to come forward I acknowledge that the proposed development could in effect kick-start this process of the wider regeneration of this area.
“It would provide much-needed new market and affordable housing and commercial space and has the potential to open opportunities for employment during construction and operation stages.
“I also find that the proposed development would result in an improvement to character and appearance of the area against the existing situation.
“I attach considerable weight and importance to these benefits.
“I acknowledge that the level of affordable housing provision where pressing need exists is undoubtedly on the low side.
“But as I have found on the evidence before me the scheme cannot reasonably provide more.
“However, the provision of a review mechanism in the legal agreement allows provision for payments to be made should the proposal demonstrate a surplus – and this reduces the any harm in this regard.”
Matsim’s plans include communal gardens, private roof gardens, shops and business workshops at street level and 21,500 sq ft of grade A office space.
Matsim has said that the scheme would provide employment space for up to 500 people, bringing economic benefits for the area and financial benefits for the council.
As well as £300,000 a year in council tax, the scheme is expected to generate £230,000 a year in business rates. In total the project is expected to be worth £850,000 a year to the council.
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