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Home / Sporting Events / Fishing / Developer who got a discount on council-owned land fails in bid to build fewer affordable homes in Penllergaer

Developer who got a discount on council-owned land fails in bid to build fewer affordable homes in Penllergaer

A housing firm which bought sought after land at a discount has been told it cannot reduce the number of affordable homes at the site.

Enzo’s Homes bought land at Penllergare Valley Woods from Swansea Council in a deal believed to be around £1 million.

The company later signed a legal agreement with the council to provide 16 affordable houses at the new estate, but wanted to reduce that number to 12.

However, its application was unanimously rejected by the authority’s planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday.

A planning officer told committee members that the price of the land was dropped in order to help facilitate the number of affordable homes, but no sums were given.

Referring to the application to reduce the number of affordable homes, he said: “Your officers consider that the reduction is not justified.”

Enzo’s Homes originally proposed building eight affordable houses, while the planning authority wanted 24.

An independent appraisal was carried out, and the 16 figure was agreed by both parties.

In its latest application, Enzo’s Homes said 12 affordable homes “would be in line with the policies” of a new development plan for Swansea, which was adopted after it was given planning permission for the estate.

The old Penllergare House in 1939 before it was demolished. Lliw Valley civic offices were built in its place before they too were razed

The remains of the former Lliw Valley civic offices at Penllergare Valley Woods before the Enzo’s Homes scheme got under way

Addressing the planning committee at the meeting, Penllergaer councillor Wendy Fitzgerald said she felt the 80-home estate had been a “disaster” for the historic park and garden in which it is located. 

She also said Enzo’s Homes had not been required to make a primary school contribution because of the financial viability issues, although the developer was obliged to make a £253,568 secondary school contribution and a £65,000 habitat payment. 

Cllr Fitzgerald added: “There can be no option other than to refuse this request.”

Committee member, Cllr Peter Black, said he was “disturbed” by the planning report which said it appeared that Enzo’s Homes was in breach of its obligations because discussions with registered social landlords to manage the affordable homes had not progressed.

“I think it is important that the obligations they signed up to are fully met,” said Cllr Black.

An image of the Enzo’s Homes development under way

Cllr Mike White said allowing Enzo’s Homes to cut the number of affordable houses could “open the floodgates” for other developers, while Cllr Des Thomas said he felt the developer was embarking “on a bit of a fishing exercise”.

Cllr Louise Gibbard said she was “appalled” by the apparent lack of dialogue between Enzo’s Homes and social landlords.

She added: “There is a clear need for affordable housing in the area – that’s one of the reasons we voted for it (the original planning application).”

The planning officer said discussions were taking place with Enzo’s Homes on the social landlord matter, and added: “We would look to take legal action if there is a breach of contract.”

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