Developer wins payment cut
Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 31 October 2013
Oldham Planning Committee
A CONTROVERSIAL bid to avoid affordable housing subsidy payments by developers of the Royal George Mills site in Greenfield was granted last night — leaving Oldham Council £450,000 out of pocket.
Local campaigners and residents had attempted to stop the council waiving the subsidy, saying the developer’s claim that the project was becoming commercially unviable was inaccurate.
Developers Wiggett Construction had agreed to pay a subsidy - amounting to over £700,000 in three stages - instead of making a fifth of the homes on the site “affordable”.
Last night’s decision will see the total payment limited to £233,761.
Speaking during the meeting, Councillor Roger Hindle said: “I am still extremely disappointed. The latest update has shown that 44 of the properties have been sold - therefore we are only one away from the 45 we needed to ensure a further instalment of £233,000 would be paid.”
This was the latest of a series of projects in which developers have sought to avoid meeting financial settlement conditions.
The decision was met with fierce criticism from members of the Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents’ Association after the meeting. Secretary Mike Rooke said: “The council will have lost the trust of the people and members of our association will be outraged with what has happened tonight.
“This council is supposed to be trying to help ordinary people; affordable homes would go a long way to helping them. Tet they have let the developers ride roughshod over the agreement.”
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