PERSIMMON site will have LOTS of social housing(February 11, 2011)
THE financial interests of a major house-builder are being called into question as it has emerged that a local housing association will gain scores of extra homes outside their usual allocation.
Persimmon Homes have a recession proof deal to deliver 49 'social housing homes' at their contentious development in Warminster by sacrificing the street scene on one of the most important entrances to the town from the world famous Longleat estate.
"I could not understand the finances of the proposed destruction of the perfectly habitable and saleable house so I decided to do some digging," explains former councillor Paul Macdonald.
"Persimmon won the hard fought battle against us locals about Albion House for the gain of a couple of their £139,000 homes but I could not understand their decision on cash terms.
"I have asked and have had confirmed by a well respected and long established estate agent that Albion house in its current condition would sell for about £200,000.
"The two building plots are costing the national house-builder £100,000 each. The question has to be asked why do this? This is raising eyebrows amongst local builders. Who pays £100,000 for a small building plot?"
Persimmon had its planning application turned down by the local planning committee. This was overturned on appeal by a planning inspector who was sympathetic to the street scene argument put forward by Paul Macdonald.
The rules however did not allow this to outweigh the commercial interests of Persimmon and another emergingmajor player in this development.
"Now I have found out that Persimmon have struck a deal with Selwood Housing," adds Paul.
"It goes far beyond the requirement to provide about a dozen 'affordable' homes that is usually par for the course."
Housing Association Sale
Government rules require that any housing development over a proscribed size must include an element of social housing and a contribution to other social amenities.
"This requirement is usually very unpopular with developers who do not want 'social tenants' undermining the prestige of their schemes," says Paul. "So why have Persimmon done this?"
"I would like to ask if anyone thinks that this has led to the decision to go back on leaving Albion House alone.
"To sell a third of the development like this is a major financial coup.
The Selwood Housing Association website proudly announces 'New homes in Warminster'.
"The planning rules are covered by the first phase announced," says Paul. "I am really pleased that those that need 'council' housing will be able to live on this estate alongside private owners.
But does this mean that the two frontage homes that will replace Albion House will now be owned by Selwood Housing.
"I will be in contact with Cllr. Pip Ridout as the local member and Cllr. Graham Payne as a board member of the housing association who I have trusted for more years than I can remember to find out on Monday," says Paul.
"I only hope that if bulldozer is driven into Albion House the two homes that replaces it are named Persimmon Perfidy and as Swalesdale Road is named after sheep the other quite simply Financial Fleece'."