PLANS to build a Kirkburton retirement village are being stalled – almost seven years after the development was first mooted.
Proposals to create a 300-home “continuing care” community on the former Storthes Hall Hospital site are up for debate again after developers applied to change the terms of the existing planning approval.
They no longer want to have to include affordable housing in the scheme.
Councillors gave the development the go-ahead last January to build the village for over-60s.
It was subsequently called in by the Secretary of State for a public inquiry over the green belt issue, but later agreed.
The proposal includes 300 detached and semi-detached bungalows built in a series of cul-de-sacs on the 17-hectare plot.
The former hospital’s clock tower – the only surviving building – will be restored to form a residential care home.
Community facilities including a gym, a hairdresser’s salon, shops and parking are also featured in the plan.
A condition of the planning approval was that there should be provision for 20% affordable housing.
Developers Storthes Hall CCRC would have to pay an affordable housing subsidy of £3.675m to Kirklees Council to meet the terms.
Now an application has been submitted to Kirklees planners for this condition to be removed, stating it would make the development unviable.
Agents David Storrie Associates pointed out that similar CCRC schemes in Mirfield and Ponderosa Park did not require affordable housing provision.
In a planning report, council officers recommended the amendment be refused.
It stated: “The Secretary of State’s decision on the Storthes Hall development confirmed the requirement for affordable housing and this was agreed by the applicants at that time.
“The policy position has strengthened in respect of the amount of affordable housing now sought as a part of housing developments and the need for affordable housing has become more acute.
“These are material planning matters that are considered to heavily outweigh this proposal to simply waive affordable housing to the value of £3.675 million.
“There have been negotiations over the past two years with regard to the viability of the development. However, the ongoing offer from the applicants has been zero affordable housing subsidy.”
It concluded: “The applicants have not demonstrated justifiable or credible reasons why the requested affordable housing subsidy would render the development unviable and discussions have not been progressed by the applicants since the council’s last correspondence in July this year.”
Nobody from David Storrie Associates was available for comment.