Appeal success in Richmond

06th December 2016
By Grant Leggett

Boyer has been successful at appeal, and awarded full costs, against a refusal by the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

Richmond were seeking a contribution towards affordable housing on a single dwelling, contrary to national policy, which seeks to protect small scale developers from paying affordable housing contributions (and all tariff style contributions) on sites providing 10 residential units or less.

National Policy in relation to small site contributions was reinstated following a Court of Appeal decision in May 2016.  Since this time, the majority of Authorities have had to ‘toe the line’ and have ceased requesting contributions on small sites. Richmond however has continued to require contributions stating exceptional circumstances in respect to their affordable shortfall in the borough, which they consider to be a material consideration justifying a departure from national policy. 

Boyer provided evidence demonstrating that Richmond’s affordable housing position is not an exceptional case in the context of the wider London area both in terms of their overall affordable housing need and their alleged dependence on small site contributions. In his decision the Inspector agreed with Boyer that Richmond’s alleged shortfall did not outweigh national policy and subsequently allowed the appeal on this basis.

Whilst this decision is the latest to uphold national policy in respect to affordable housing contributions, given the inconsistent approach to decision making at appeal, it is likely that Richmond will continue to require affordable housing contributions on small sites.

The decision does however demonstrate the benefit of providing evidence on affordable housing provision to reinforce the case to resist affordable housing contributions from small schemes.

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