Mereham, Cambridge
The Client
Multiplex Stannifer Developments
The Background
Mereham is a major mixed use site to the north of Cambridge intended to deliver over 5,000 homes, significant retail and employment space and a 254 ha nature reserve.
The Requirement
Having originally submitted an application outside the local plan process, the client had lodged an appeal after the application had been refused. The client appointed Levvel to:
Resolve all issues relating to affordable housing
Agree, where possible, all remaining matters of detail with the Local Authority before the appeal hearing
Provide Expert Testimony at the Public Inquiry, on matters where agreement could not be reached with the Local Authority
Why Levvel?
Levvel had previously achieved a number of successful outcomes for this client on similar assignments. This gave the client the confidence to allow the affordable housing issues to be ‘packaged’ and left to Levvel to resolve, without further input from the client or their planning consultant.
The Levvel Solution
Initially a detailed policy review was undertaken to scope the supportable case to be presented at the public enquiry. During negotiations, Levvel investigated and made representations on behalf of the client with regard to the implications of new emerging policy, which attempted to introduce revised levels of affordable housing. A number of issues were successfully agreed with the Local Authority prior to the appeal. These included market and affordable housing mix, percentage and distribution of affordable housing through the site, standards for build environment and draft site lettings strategy. On matters that could not be agreed evidence was prepared and presented at the formal Public Inquiry working closely with the client’s planning and legal team. In addition advice on the drafting of a Section 106 Obligation, incorporating cascade mechanisms, was also provided.
The Outcome
Knowing that all affordable housing issues could be safely left with Levvel to resolve, the client was able to focus on other core business matters requiring their attention. In the long term, the client had the assurance of knowing that the overall risk on this project had been reduced by ring fencing the level of developer contribution for affordable housing.
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