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HAT Projects’ Pocket Living scheme loses appeal over ‘unacceptable’ tenure mix

Hat Projects' scheme for Pocket Living in Haringey

HAT Projects’ scheme in north London for micro-flats developer Pocket Living has lost a planning appeal on the grounds it only provided one-bedroom homes

The 44-home block for the plot to the rear of Kerswell Close was rejected by Haringey Council earlier this year after the council decided it failed to meet the area’s affordable housing needs.

The local authority argued that the proposed ’mono-tenure mix of housing’ was unacceptable, as all the units in the scheme would be for just one person and its biggest need was for family homes.

Pocket Living appealed against the decision but the planning inspector ruled in favour of the council, finding the scheme was ‘overly restrictive in its type and mix’.

Pocket Homes, which are usually around 38m², are for private sale but are classified as ‘intermediate’ affordable, as all units are sold at 20 per cent below market value.

Under the Pocket Living model, which is backed by the Mayor of London and Homes England, flats are only eligible to first-time buyers who live or work in the local area.

Admitting it was ‘unusual’ to rule against an 100 per cent affordable housing scheme, inspector Claire Searson said the HAT Projects scheme was in ‘clear conflict’ with Haringey’s detailed policy requirements. 

She said: ‘I consider that the site would not maximise affordable housing provision as claimed by the appellant, as it is overly restrictive in its type and mix and would fail to meet the needs of all those who require such accommodation in the borough.’

The Kerswell Close site was sold by Haringey Council to Pocket Living in 2016 to build homes for first-time buyers. 

However, the council has since changed administration and, according to Pocket Living, the council now wishes to use the site to build council housing.

A spokesman from Pocket Living said: ’Pocket Living is naturally puzzled and disappointed by the decision, and by the change of heart by Haringey, who had agreed to sell us the site to deliver affordable homes for local first-time buyers before the administration changed.

’The decision related to the very specific site circumstances, and the council’s award of £60 million from the mayor to deliver council homes. The new administration decided it would rather deliver council homes on the site.

’The inspector considered the funding to be a compelling fall-back which was critical to the decision.’

A Haringey Council spokesperson said the council’s updated housing strategy placed more emphasis on the borough’s need for social housing.

’We acknowledge that all the homes within the proposed development would fall within the national definition of ‘affordable homes’ given that the appellant agreed at the inquiry that the homes would be subject to a 20 per cent market discount in perpetuity.

’However, they were all 1 bed, 1 person ‘discount market sales’ homes. In terms of the type of homes and their tenure, they would not meet the specific needs of the local community.

’Planning officers noted that the council has embarked on its own Council house-building programme and, as it owns the application site, could deliver a policy-compliant scheme that better addresses the needs of the community. The Government-appointed Inspector agreed with this position.’

HAT Projects declined to comment.


Readers' comments (3)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    Written-in-stone policies sound like they aren't flexible enough.

    There are an awful of of people in London who need a 1-Bed Flat with no gardens, don't demand parking, and probably make noise at night when kids are asleep. I don' think they mix particularly well with family requirements on a hundred levels.
    For a 44-Apt development, you would think there was a case for some sites in Haringey to be entirely first-time buyer 1-Beds ...... just as there must be plenty of other sites that would suit family homes better.

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  • A very stupid decision by both Haringey and the inspectorate, depriving local people of affordable homes just because they are single. Unbelievable.

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  • Daniel Lacey

    Wow. We've changed our minds and we'll take the site back thankyou very much.

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