Not content with an over-developed site, the developer now maintains that they are constrained on the site so that the removal of unwanted material cannot meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. If they had not crammed in more houses, than makes sense, they would not have been so constrained. They have brought this on themselves. Yet they expect Wiltshire Council to help them out by agreeing to a lower building standard (Level 3).
The over-development at Witts Lane consists of four dwellings with associated parking. One of the conditions of the approval (back in March 2016) was that:
‘The dwellings … shall achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes… (When an authority uses the word “shall” it is to ensure that that happens exactly as stated, no quibbling, no nuances).
The reason Wiltshire Council applied this condition was …. to ensure that the objectives of sustainable development set out in Policy CP 41 of the Wiltshire Core Strategy were achieved.
Although the Government has replaced the Code for Sustainable Homes with a different approach to achieving technical housing standards, the new national technical standards were set at the equivalent of a Code Level 4. Apparently, a Code Assessor has been to the Witts Lane site and confirmed that the development is currently at Level 3 which is lower than an equivalent energy standard for Level 4.
So, the developer is attempting to reduce the previously agreed condition to a Code Level 3. This should not be allowed. The national technical standards were set at the equivalent of a Code Level 4. The “Thatched Cottage” developer is trying to argue that a development in Butterfield Drive, Amesbury, Salisbury, was in a similar predicament and a planning inspector agreed that the developer could have a lower standard providing an equivalent energy standard could be obtained. This does not apply at Witts Lane since, in this case, the site will not be meeting an equivalent energy standard to Level 4.
Remember, the developer brought this on themselves; they wanted to build the four houses; they knew they could not have met the Wiltshire Council condition at the time. It is not for Wiltshire Council to get them out of a hole that they happily excavated for themselves with their own JCB.
The decision is being made on Monday.
It is easy to lodge an objection by clicking here …and saying the equivalent of (please use your own words for greater impact):
The developer knowingly agreed to a condition which they could not meet due to the number of houses on the site. Lowering the standard to be achieved is not a sustainable solution otherwise all developers will get a green light to agree to whatever they like in order to get a housing permission and then seek to change the “undesirable” conditions subsequently. In the case of Butterfield the planning inspector allowed a reduction ONLY if an equivalent energy standard (Code Level 4) could be obtained. The applicant has acknowledged that the site currently is at Code Level 3. This application for a variation should be refused and the applicant encouraged to achieve the required Code Level 4.
The objection can also be sent by email quoting ref: 17/06101/VAR (3 Witts Lane, Purton, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 4ER) to: Developmentmanagement@wiltshire.gov.uk marked for the attention of Mr Richard Sewell.