Plans for Catterick Garrison housing set for approval

The site of proposed new housing in Catterick Garrison.

Plans for a new Catterick Garrison housing estate which have been repeatedly rejected for failing to help address a social housing shortage have been recommended for approval, despite having far less than the target amount of affordable housing.

Richmondshire councillors have regularly voiced frustration over the lack of affordable housing being built in the district, despite the district council having long-established policies to encourage developers to create more homes in which local young people can afford to buy or rent.

As a direct result, two proposals to build 40 homes on land off Somerset Close and Gough Road in Catterick Garrison submitted in 2016 and 2017 were rejected and a subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was also dismissed.

While the council has set a target of 40 per cent affordable housing for such developments in the area, officers say this is an ambitious target, but recent experience had shown 30 per cent affordable housing could be achieved on brownfield sites.

However, planning officers also point out that all brownfield sites have additional development costs that will affect the viability of the scheme and those extra costs had affected the amount of affordable housing at the Somerset Close scheme.

Nevertheless, some councillors have raised concerns over whether the developers are inflating their expected costs to limit the amount of less profitable affordable housing they have to build.

They have also voiced anger over developers discovering extra costs following planning consent being granted and moving to cut the amount of affordable housing in response.

In a report to the council’s planning committee, officers said just 12.5 per cent affordable housing was viable on the proposed scheme.

This would mean five houses would be classes as “affordable”.

Gleeson Regeneration said the firm prided itself on “enabling aspiring young home owners to achieve their dream” and said 86 per cent of its purchasers were first-time buyers and its average purchaser had a household income of £32,400.

A spokesman said: “Gleeson are all about low cost home ownership.

To this end, Gleeson do not sell to landlords and in fact sales contracts with our customers include a “no rental” covenant, in perpetuity, without our express approval which is only given in exceptional circumstances.”