Need for affordable housing above flats in Ferndown

Attempts by a DEVELOPER to remove a condition requiring apartments on the site of a former police station to be occupied on an affordable housing basis have been met with opposition.

Aster Communities is applying for planning permission from Dorset Council for Constable Close, Ferndown, so that three flats can be sold on the open market.

East Dorset District Council approved plans to redevelop the land in 2001 to create 30 apartments spread over three blocks.

This led to the creation of housing off Ringwood Road, with an affordable housing requirement in the scheme.

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The claimant claims that the restrictions “are no longer useful”, but objections have been submitted.

Ferndown North ward councilors Cathy Lugg and Mike Parkes said: ‘We are short of affordable housing in Ferndown.

“The obligation arose as part of the planning process and the applicant was aware of it.

“We do not agree with the discharge of the obligation.”

As part of its request, Aster said, “The use and occupancy restrictions under the agreement no longer serve a useful purpose.

“The plaintiff also hopes to dispose of the property in which he has an interest in the open market. The current agreement currently does not allow this.

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Dorset Council’s Housing Enablement Team, which is responsible for working with interested parties to plan and deliver affordable housing schemes, said it disagreed with the claimant’s claims.

A statement from the Housing Enablement Team submitted in response to Aster’s proposal said if the application is approved it would mean there is no affordable housing on the site.

There are currently 2,851 active applications on Dorset Council’s housing register, which the team said demonstrated a “high level of registered housing need in the area”, with a breakdown of the housing sizes required.

“Aster says the restrictions do not serve a useful purpose, but there is a high level of housing need in Dorset and these properties are helping to meet that need,” the Housing Enablement Team said.

“Having affordable housing on an open market site helps create a balanced and sustainable community, especially in high value areas such as Ferndown.

“It is understood that it can be difficult to manage different housing occupancies in an apartment building, but due to the high level of housing need in the area, this demand is not supported by Housing Enablement Team.”

The request to remove the affordable housing requirement is currently being considered by Dorset Council’s planning department.

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