Enzo's Homes' bid to cut Swansea affordable housing 'not justified'

Housing site at Penllergaer Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Offices built in 1982 for the former Lliw Valley Borough Council have been demolished

A developer has failed in its bid to build fewer affordable homes at a former council office site, despite getting a cut-price deal for the land.

Enzo's Homes is thought to have paid Swansea Council £1m for the land at Penllergaer, promising that 16 of the 80 homes would be affordable.

Councillors have rejected a request to cut the affordable homes figure to 12.

Enzo's Homes is facing prosecution on charges of unlawfully cutting down 70 trees near the site, which it denies.

An officer told council's planning committee the price of the land was dropped in order to help facilitate the 16 affordable homes, but no sums were given.

Referring to the request to build fewer affordable homes, he said: "Your officers consider that the reduction is not justified."

'Open floodgates'

The figure of 16 was agreed after an independent appraisal, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The developer had proposed eight, while the council wanted 24.

In its latest application, Enzo's Homes said 12 affordable homes "would be in line with the policies" of a new development plan for Swansea, adopted since it was granted planning permission.

Penllergaer councillor Wendy Fitzgerald said she felt the 80-home estate had been a "disaster" for the historic park and garden in which it is located "in more ways than one".

She said Enzo's Homes had not been required to make a primary school contribution because of financial viability issues, although the developer has made a £253,568 secondary school contribution and a £65,000 habitat payment.

Councillor Mike White warned granting the cut in affordable homes would "open the floodgates" for other developers to do the same.

The request was rejected unanimously.

Officers are also in discussion with the developer over an apparent lack of progress in talks with social landlords to manage the affordable housing.

Enzo's Homes and a tree contractor are due to appear at Swansea Magistrates' Court in August for a two-day trial on charges of contravening a tree preservation order.

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