Fury over housing plan that is an ‘insult to residents’

Farm buildings off Searby Road in Sutton.
Farm buildings off Searby Road in Sutton.

A developer has come under attack for trying to avoid paying extra fees to build homes in Sutton.

W&J Temporal Ltd is looking to convert barns at Roundhills Farm into homes, and build another eight houses on the surrounding land, just off Searby Road.

A previous application was eventually withdrawn, but it had insisted that the company must pay a £33,000 contribution towards recreation facilities for that area, known as a Section 106 agreement.

With the new application, the company insists it cannot afford that sum, and has offered just £5,000, which planning officers have now agreed to.

But the move has not gone unnoticed by Ashfield ward councillor Steve Carroll, who did not pull any punches in his assessment of the situation.

He said: “I’m angry that the developers have pleaded poverty. I just think it’s an insult to the residents.

“These houses are not going to be affordable homes, they will probably go for about £200,000 and will be out of reach of first-time buyers.

“Planning officers and the council need to be more robust because this will happen time and time again.

“If they are to develop these sites they have to put something back to the community.”

As part of a statement from the company, they said: “As a result of relative low sales value in the area and increased build costs due to a lack of labour and materials, the proposal is only marginally viable and cannot support the full additional costs as Section 106 contributions.

“The applicant has now agreed to redirect the previously committed sum of £5,000 towards public open space improvements to meet the education requirements and add an additional £17,910 to meet the £22,910 requested by Nottinghamshire County Council education.”

It is the second application in recent weeks that has seen the developer query the contributions they should pay.

It is the second application submitted to Ashfield District Council that has caused similar controversy with developers looking to reduce their contributions to plans for 102 homes off Alfreton Road.

The Roundhills Farm application will be discussed at Ashfield District Council’s planning committee tomorrow (Thursday).