On 28 September 2018, the Secretary of State granted outline planning permission to enable the development of up to 1,100 new homes in the City of York whilst remediating a brownfield, previously developed site. The site, which is in close proximity to York city centre, was used by British Sugar for sugar beet processing for some 80 years up until 2007.
Redevelopment of the site first required the agreement of a remediation strategy with the Environment Agency, and obtaining permission to construct a development platform on which to construct the new homes and associated open space and other development. With these matters in place, an appeal to the Secretary of State on non-determination grounds proceeded.
Through ongoing negotiations with the Council, the potential objections to redevelopment of the site were continually narrowed, until in the lead up to the inquiry the only issue in dispute was the appropriate level of affordable housing. This issue, also, was the subject of ongoing discussions and the position reached by the end of the inquiry was that the level of affordable housing to be provided by the scheme was agreed, together with the s. 106 agreement.
The s. 106 agreement includes detailed viability review mechanisms, which recognise the uncertainty in the remediation costs that are yet to be incurred, while providing for procedures to capture increases in predicted profits and so enable the construction of additional amounts of affordable housing through the lifetime of the development.