Feethams housing development deal under review over lost affordable flats

A DEAL to build affordable housing on the former Feethams ground will come under review after planning requirements have not been met.

A planning application submitted to Darlington Borough Council by developers in 2014 saw approval given to build 82 properties on the former home of Darlington FC, including 12 two-bed apartments to the southern corner of the site.

However, developers Persimmon Homes have been unable to secure a social housing provider to maintain the units.

The site owners have since applied for the affordable housing element of their agreed planning permission to be modified.

Under the proposed changes, the apartments would still be built on Feethams, off South Terrace, Darlington, and sold on the open market.

One formal objection has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council’s Planning Applications Committee by a resident.

The objection states: “I am extremely angry at this.

“When they knew they were obligated to build affordable, social housing, surely some research into the size, type, affordability, which associations et al were looking for homes in that area should have been taken into account?

“Not ooh (sic) let’s build and see what happens?”

However, several deals to secure the future of the obligatory affordable apartments fell through for Persimmon Homes throughout 2014 and 2015.

A Darlington Borough Council document states: “The applicant has had difficulty in securing a willing registered social provider to manage and maintain the units at a price commercially viable to the company.

“The units were initially marketed in September 2014 where 18 registered providers were contacted inviting any expressions of interest.

“Only one offer was received which was significantly less that the applicant had budgeted for before any reductions for ground rent and service charges were applied.”

If approved, modified planning permission at the original Quakers ground would see an off-site contribution made by developers of £300,600 to cover the market value of the twelve flats.

Committee members will make a decision on Wednesday, January 11, in the Town Hall.

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