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Swansea 'held to ransom' by developers who can no longer provide affordable housing

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 02, 2014

PMG has said it can no longer provide affordable housing in its riverside development off New Cut Road, Swansea.

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SWANSEA council is being "held to ransom" by developers who have said they can no longer afford to include affordable housing in a major new riverside scheme, according to the leader of the local authority.

David Phillips said the change of heart over the Bernard Hastie industrial site off New Cut Road was not acceptable.

The plans, first put forward four years ago, were for 136 houses and flats, with 15 per cent designated as "affordable housing", and a £540,000 contribution from the developer towards building the Morfa Distributor Road.

But the number of homes has now been reduced to 92, and developers PMG say they cannot afford to include the affordable housing element, while also proposing to cut the amount of cash for the road.

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Speaking a Swansea Council planning committee meeting, councillor Phillips said: "Having announced that we want to build the road we are being held to ransom; we are being bounced into this for commercial reasons.

"They now come along and say they cannot afford it — well I am sorry, but that is not acceptable."

Council officers had recommended approval of the revised project — but councillors rejected that advice and voted instead to ask planning staff to go back to the developers and renegotiate what is know as the "section 106 agreement" to include the affordable housing.

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  • jack101  |  June 02 2014, 9:02PM

    The city centre and this area needs massive regeneration the council and its leader are out of touch. Private investment should be welcomed and this can only send out a negative message to other potential investors. There is already plenty of social housing in the city centre. The council has done nothing for decades on really turning around the city centre apart from organise yet more discussion and planning groups who develop and deliver nothing. Shocking and people are fed up with the lack of real action.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  June 02 2014, 6:57PM

    I am happy the company is saying no to building social housing, I struggle to find private renting affordable even on my wage and mortgages are hard to come by. It's disheartening to be told I do not qualify for a property only to see others earning less (in many cases through fault of their own) take the tenancy. Where is the fairness in that? The only social housing should be provided by the council and they should be building more to accommodate those who fell on hard times and also those who chose to live a life on benefits. These developers are being strangled and forced to build properties that don't make them money and that impacts the market negatively, instead of satisfying the market and meeting demand they instead find themselves setting aside a large part of their operating budget to house "under-priveledged".

  • Alltalk  |  June 02 2014, 4:58PM

    Just a thought but why doesn't Swansea Council build its own affordable housing instead of bullying the private sector? Or is that too radical and socialist for Mr Phillips?

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  • Gowerview  |  June 02 2014, 1:14PM

    Even the developers can now see Swansea has enough residential in the city centre. Mr David Phillips as council leader and city region leader can hopefully adopt an open for business mindset. Ambitious multi use schemes need to bring some variety to the regeneration strategy. Walk High Street, St Davids centre in heart of Swansea and parts of SA1. Residential ,flats and more flats, pay and display car parks and units vacant (to let ) dominate. The city needs a huge commercial regeneration boost - a huge step change landmark regeneration that can increase private sector investment,footfall and staycation visitors. The planners,regeneration experts and business leaders can surely see that a more dynamic,ambitious stance on Swansea centre regeneration needs to take place.

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  • SwanseaSam  |  June 02 2014, 12:55PM

    . . .and then they appeal, get it overturned by an Inspector and the council carries the cost of losing! Wish the council good luck with chasing this but I won't be holding my breath!

  • SAswan  |  June 02 2014, 12:44PM

    Tawe riverside should be lined with cafes, restaurants, hotels, attractions, watersports, light railway, cable car to turn it into a destination instead of souless developments of houses and flats. Lessons should have been learnt after the mess that's been made of other waterside sites in the marina and sa1.

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  • Zoomer  |  June 02 2014, 12:29PM

    No problem. No affordable housing, no renewed planning permission. This area of land must weigh heavily on the developers' balance sheet, so common sense should bring them to the negotiating table. After all, it's their money they're losing.

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