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Planning permission extended and developers’ ‘obligations’ are relaxed for Hungate scheme
A £130 million housing development in York has been salvaged after councillors allowed more time for it to be completed.
The firm behind the stalled 720-home Hungate scheme last night secured a fresh planning agreement which it says can allow work to resume by 2015.
Hungate (York) Regeneration Ltd had warned that unless a new deal was struck over the timescales for the development, as well as affordable housing levels and £6.6 million in financial contributions towards archaeology, education, open space and other matters, it could not take it forward.
City of York Council ’s planning committee has now unanimously agreed an extension to the original planning permission for the site, allowing the development to be carried out in five further stages with the target of completion by 2024.
As well as the new housing – with the first 162 homes having been finished in 2009 – the Hungate scheme was also earmarked to include a landmark office building, shops and bars, a community building and a riverside piazza.
Work has been halted amid the economic downturn, with the developers’ original 2006 planning approval – requiring detailed plans for the entire scheme to be submitted by last month – having now expired.
Agents acting for Hungate (York) Regeneration Ltd had said the original obligations the developer had to meet would leave it making a £215,000 loss on the scheme.
They said relaxing the previously-agreed “section 106 contributions” towards areas which benefit the community would allow the company to make a £15 million profit, although this was a lower profit margin than it would normally seek from a development.
John Jowitt, of PJ Planning, speaking on behalf of the developers at last night's meeting, said the quality of the scheme so far was “remarkable”.
Committee member Coun Ann Reid said: “It would be perverse if we did not approve this.
“We have had long and tortured debates about this site in the past, and it has always been recognised that even in good economic conditions, which these are not, it would take many years to fully develop.”
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing told the meeting: “We need to get this development moving, and if this application helps things, we should approve it.”
A report by planners on the scheme said a previous legal agreement, including affordable housing and section 106 payments, would now be updated.