THE firmbehind the Shoebury housing plans says it won’t be able to contribute towards affordable housing, education or infrastructure because it is already paying nearly £1million for the controversial seawall plan.
Garrison Developments has offered to pay £970,000 towards a 7ft seawall Southend Council plans to build across Shoebury Common if it gets permission for the new estate. This would protect more than 350 homes and businesses in Shoebury from flooding.
Council policy requires developers to hand over 30 per cent of housing developments to housing associations as social housing.
Planning officers have suggested Garrison Developments also contributes £1.5million towards local schools and between £10,000 and £15,000 towards roads as a condition of allowing the scheme.
But the Chelmsford-based developer, which is storing 44,000 tonnes of earth, extracted from Southend Cliff Gardens and due to be used for the seawall, claims the contributions would make the plans unviable.
Peter Lovett, of anti-seawall campaign group, the Friends of Shoebury Common, said: “We were told that the 172 residential units and 1,500sq m of employment development did not need the new seawall, but the application for planning permission was submitted on April 10, the day after the Shoebury Common seawall was approved.
“With all the flooding in the past nine months on flood plains, it is a surprise applications of this sort are still allowed.
“It is fairly obvious, with a cheque for £1million on the development control committee table, they are unlikely to reject it.”
Garrison Developments has submitted a “viability assessment”
setting out why it can only afford the seawall payment.
The council is likely to pay consultants to check out the figures before planning officers recommend action to the councillors.
Paul Denney, technical director for Garrison Developments, said: “In putting our proposals together, we have consulted the Environment Agency and Southend Council.
“Both of these organisations identified planning contributions towards improved sea defences at Shoebury Common as a key priority, as hundreds of existing homes and businesses in Shoebury are threatened by potential flooding.
“Our contribution proposals therefore focus on viability and flood defences.
“We expect the council to undertake an independent review of our own viability assessments in deciding how much we should contribute.
“Ultimately, how the council then chooses to use the funds is up to it.”