A COMPANY which is redeveloping a former civic centre site in Penllergaer wants to cut the number of affordable homes being built there.
Enzos Homes was given planning permission last year to build 80 houses at the Penllergare Valley Woods site, 20% of which were to be affordable.
Although construction is under way, it has now applied to Swansea Council to reduce that proportion to 15% – the equivalent of 12 houses rather than 16.
The project has come under scrutiny after protected trees were allegedly felled there, but Enzos Homes has denied charges brought by the council.
In its latest application, the company has argued that a 15% affordable housing provision “would be in line with the policies” of Swansea’s new local development plan (LDP), which was adopted after it was given planning permission.
Council officers are considering the application.
The company had initially proposed a 10% affordable housing provision, while a council housing officer wanted it to be 30%.
An independent appraisal to assess the project’s viability was carried out, and further negotiations led to the 20% figure being agreed.
It was one of several planning obligations which Enzos Homes signed up to, including a £253,568 secondary school contribution and a £65,000 habitat contribution.
The council had also wanted a contribution towards primary school education, but it was considered this would make the scheme financially unviable.
A sizeable number of affordable homes are built across Wales via planning obligations like the one between Enzos Homes and Swansea Council.
Swansea’s new LDP was adopted earlier this year and sets out a 15% affordable housing target for the north-west of the county, which includes Penllergaer.
The city’s Labour administration wanted it to be 20%, given what it said was the affordable housing need in the area.
The LDP paves the way for 15,600 new homes to be built across Swansea up until 2025. At least 3,310 of these are to be affordable – in other words available for low-cost rent or ownership.
Enzos Homes and the two individuals facing legal action for alleged felling of trees, including a giant redwood, all denied two charges at a magistrates’ court hearing last month. The case was adjourned for trial on August 12.