Leyland Test Track

Proposal for Leyland test track site faces refusal

An application that includes full consent for a first housing phase of 197 homes at the former Leyland Motors site has been recommended for refusal, with the volume of affordable housing the main sticking point.

Developer Property Capital received approval from South Ribble for the 120-acre site’s masterplan in summer 2017 following a public consultation that took in the views of 6,500 local people and businesses. The site sits in the Moss Side area of Leyland.

A hybrid application for the site was then submitted in December 2017, with planner Turley representing Property Capital and its housebuilding partner Barratt David Wilson.

The outline part of the application covers 653 to 753 homes, office space of up to 53,800 sq t, up to 161,400 sq ft of B2 space and 86,000 sq ft of B8 space; along with 30,000 sq ft of local centre facilities including a primary school and health centre.

The full planning permission includes enabling works and the installation of drainage infrastructure, the creation of a car park accessed off Titan Way, internal roads, public open space and green infrastructure.

The breakdown of the housing in phase one is 8 two-bed homes, 102 three-bed homes, and 87 four-bed homes, ranging between one and three storeys in height.

The officer recommendation is for refusal on two grounds: non-compliance with the affordability threshold of 30%; and spatial standards, with 12 plots not meeting separation distances set out in the borough’s 2013 supplementary planning document.

Wit the £106m scheme being vital to the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, and offering the local authority the opportunity to make up a large part of its housing targets, the latter point seems far from unresolvable for such an important project: the scheme can potentially bring in Community Infrastructure Levy payment of £7.3m, a £1.4m New Homes bonus and £500,000 in non-domestic rates. However, the main difficulty over the application stems from disagreement over land value.

The officers’ report states: “How the payment is actually calculated to incentivise the landowner to sell is the point of disagreement and has repercussions in terms of how many affordable housing units can be provided on site. Due to the impasse, the matter was referred to a third party surveyor which failed to resolve the outstanding issue.

“Although there is no agreement on this issue the applicant has submitted a planning gain offer which represents a maximum of 10% affordable units.”

Consultant Keppie Masssie has advised the council on the matter, concluding that a payment of £18.09m to be paid in four instalments over five years would represent fair value for the site, in broad agreement with the applicant. However the applicant, factoring in an additional 6.5% discount for deferred payments, sees the residual value as £20.7m, equivalent to £286,000 per developable acre for the residential land and £171,650 sq ft for the commercial land.

A third party advisor, David Newham, agreed broadly with Keppie Massie’s view that £18.09m represents fair value. Taking this figure, it would mean the site could support 13.8% affordable, equating to 117 affordable units, against the 85 homes being offered – of these 20 each are proposed by the applicant as shared ownership and affordable rent and 45 discounted sale.

The report concludes: “Such an important site provides the opportunity to deliver a flagship scheme which supports the delivery of strong placemaking for all sections of society. Without an agreed viability assessment it is difficult to confirm that the package of planning gain measures is acceptable.”

A spokesperson for Barratt Manchester said: “As a leading housebuilder we are working closely with South Ribble Borough Council regarding our application for over 850 homes at Leyland, which is an allocated brownfield site.”

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