A DEVELOPER looking to build on a fire-damaged former council centre has successfully argued against having to include social housing.
Applicant Kabir Tufail, of Bradford, was granted permission in 2019 for 16 houses and 16 apartments at the former Millside building.
But final approval was delayed as Mr Tufail challenged Rotherham Council’s stipulation that developments of such size include 25 per cent affordable housing.
The matter went to be independently assessed by a district valuer, who has now sided with Mr Tufail.
The assessment examined whether the scheme was financially viable by exploring if the value generated by the development is higher than the cost of carrying out the work.
With decision-making at a local level, the aim is to balance the aspirations of developers and landowners with the council obtaining maximum public benefit.
Simon Moss, RMBC assistant director for planning, regeneration and transport, said: “Although the council’s planning board had approved the development, the developer has successfully argued that it would not be a viable development to provide affordable housing.
“The viability assessment submitted by the developer for the site was independently assessed by the district valuer who concluded that the requirement to provide any contribution for affordable housing was not viable.
“Whilst we are obviously disappointed by this outcome, there is substantial fire damage to the site and so we still welcome the redevelopment despite the developer not being able to provide an affordable housing contribution.”
Former school site Millside was sold by RMBC for £175,000 in 2017 — five months before a fire caused significant damage.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue investigators were unable to determine the cause of the blaze, which was recorded as unknown.
Demolition of the building’s remnants must be carried out before February 2023 or the current planning permission will lapse.