Pinchbeck developer told it cannot drop community contributions
A developer has been told it cannot get out of its contributions to the community - with a councillor saying such obligations are ‘not a joke’.
Keston Fields Ltd had applied to ditch all of the developer contributions it had signed up to as part of its plans for 100 houses in Pinchbeck.
The firm said that it is no longer viable to pay its ‘section 106’ payments towards school places and the CallConnect bus and to build affordable homes in the development - which is on the Keston Nurseries site in Mill Green Road.
However, South Holland District Council ran the numbers past an independent assessor and disagreed - refusing the application on the grounds that ‘viability cannot be used as a means of boosting a developer’s return’.
Pinchbeck Parish Council had opposed the application to ditch the ‘section 106’ agreement - saying the developer had a financial and moral duty to the community.
Chairman James Avery said: “I believe the decision on Keston Fields by the local planning authority is absolutely correct and is aligned with the views of Pinchbeck Parish Council. S106 obligations are not a joke. Developer contributions fulfil a purpose, which is to mitigate the impact a development has on a location and its residents.
“South Holland District Council has used a third party, independent viability specialist to prove this development can afford the contributions the developers signed up to when they were looking to secure their planning permission.”
Keston Fields Ltd had already reduced the share of affordable homes from 33% to 25% - and amended its deal a second time to change the timing and delivery of these homes.
The third application was to allow it to ditch these and the bus and school payments - totalling £266,864 - entirely.
The parish council has used the section 106 system to request money to be used in Pinchbeck and West Pinchbeck.
Coun Avery explained: “Our default position is to request a contribution for all appropriate developments. We’re not always successful, but the play equipment we have just installed on Rotten Row playing field, the Glebe Field and Leaveslake Drove playing field, were as a direct result of the Parish Council negotiating directly with the Spalding power station.
“Some parish councils leave it up to SHDC, but I like to think Pinchbeck Parish Council is able to punch above its weight when it comes to securing funding.”