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Baldwins: Application withdrawn over affordable housing

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The site of the former Baldwins Omega restaurant on Brincliffe Hill

An application to build new housing on the site formerly occupied by the Baldwins Omega restaurant has been withdrawn in a dispute over affordable housing, Now Then understands.

Local MP Paul Blomfield previously wrote to Sheffield City Council's planning officer objecting to the most recent application for the site, which is just off Psalter Lane.

"The objections include (but are not limited to) the apparent attempt to circumvent the Affordable Housing Policy by the developer," wrote Mr Blomfield in November 2018.

Permission to redevelop the site was granted in February 2016 on the condition that affordable housing made up at least 10% of the development.

PTA Developments then applied for permission to demolish the site's existing buildings and replace them with 52 apartments in 6 blocks. This was approved on 13 June 2018, subject to the affordable housing condition of the previous application.

On 12 June 2018, PTA Developments made an application to remove the affordable housing requirement. In July 2018 an independent review into the viability of affordable housing in the development found that a provision of 8.25% was viable in the scheme.

The Council then rejected this application in September 2018, on the basis that "the local planning authority does not consider the assertion that it is unviable to provide an affordable housing contribution in relation to the approved scheme to have been demonstrated."

After this, a further application was made to remove the affordable housing condition on 28 September 2018. That application is still outstanding.

Meanwhile, an application was made on 24 September 2018 by Mr Giles Litchfield and Hobsbuild Limited for a new development on part of the Baldwins site. This consists of 13 apartments in one block.

As the law firm Freeths, acting on behalf of the applicant, pointed out to the Council in a letter of November 2018, only sites with a capacity for 15 or more homes are required to provide affordable housing.

The Freeths letter states that this new application is on land that has been sold to Hobsbuild Limited by PTA Developments, who have retained the rest of the land.

"Accordingly, there is no requirement for the provision of affordable housing in respect of the application by Hobsbuild Limited," says the letter.

An email was sent today to residents who commented on the application to inform them that it has been withdrawn by the developer.

Now Then understands that Council officers have objected to the development being broken up to circumvent the affordable housing requirements.

Application agents Grayscale Architecture Ltd and Sheffield City Council have been approached for comment.

Sam Gregory

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