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New Framework To Speed Up Development Of Council-Owned Sites Is Given Green Light

14 January 2014 Moves to speed up the development of Council-owned land for housing – including affordable homes – were approved by the authority’s Executive last night (Wednesday).

Members agreed to appoint a framework of strategic housing partners to provide competitive rates and value for money for the disposal of sites no longer required by the Council.

The meeting heard it would speed up the development process, reduce costs and offer Local Members greater influence over the nature of a development in their ward.

Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Growth and Innovation, said: “The framework offers the Council many benefits. It allows us to avoid costly procurement procedures and to think about how we want to dispose of our sites.

“If a site is appropriate for development there will be consultation with Local Members so they have some influence into what that site should be.

“We have already agreed the disposal of a number of sites across the borough. The type of buildings will not be defined until they go to planning application but on every site there will be affordable homes.

“This framework will ensure we are getting value for money as a Council while increasing housing stock owned by other providers.”

The meeting heard that six sites already approved for disposal are ready for immediate release on approval of the framework.

They are: Sherbourne Road, Ellesmere Port; Kensington Road/Sutton Way, Ellesmere Port; former Foxfield PH, Poole Hall Road, Ellesmere Port; Leaf Lane School, Winsford; Castleleigh Centre, Northwich; and The Meadows and former RBL, Northwich.

Councillor Manley told the meeting that adopting the framework would mean these sites should be completed from the end of 2015 onwards.

Speaking as a Visiting Member, Councillor Angela Claydon said: “I appreciate the reasons for this, especially as it would allow the speedy development of Council-owned brown field sites.

“But no numbers are given for the development of affordable homes. Is it 25 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent?

“It would be very disappointing if we’ve given away our Council land at a very cheap cost if it was only 25 percent.

“I would like there to be some sort of guarantee that these sites will deliver a fair share of affordable homes.”

Council Leader Mike Jones told the meeting that the minimum number of affordable homes for each site will be determined in accordance with planning policy.

The remaining sites agreed for disposal are: car park, Church Street, Winsford; Handley Hill School, Winsford; land at Winsford; Luton Road, Ellesmere Port; and Acorns Infant School, Ellesmere Port.

It is anticipated that the 11 sites will deliver approximately 500 new homes.