Local MP Steve McCabe has said he is disappointed that Aldi won’t be honouring their affordable housing commitment but accepts after almost 10 years this is probably the only way the flats will be developed.
The Planning Committee has accepted Aldi’s proposal to vary the conditions attached to the planning permission granted in 2008 to build its Maypole Store and 22 flats, to drop the condition that 8 out of the 22 flats are rented as affordable housing. Aldi argues that because of the cost of developing the flats and the economic downturn in 2008 it is no longer economically viable to keep the affordable housing element.
Aldi was granted planning permission in 2008 to build its Maypole store and 22 flats. A condition of the planning approval was that 8 of the 22 flats would be affordable housing. However, the conditions attached to the planning permission meant the flats only ever had to be built to ‘shell specification’ and they have remained in that state since 2008.
The MP has been calling on Aldi to take action over the 22 empty flats for many years and last year Aldi told Steve McCabe MP that if the affordable housing element was not dropped it was not economically viable for them to invest in the flats and bring them into use.
Last year the MP wrote to local residents explaining the situation and asking what they thought, 89% of people felt that the council should accept Aldi’s offer to drop the existing planning requirements so the flats can be brought into use on the open market.
Commenting on today’s decision by Birmingham’s Planning Committee, the MP said:
“I’ve been pushing Aldi to bring the 22 flats above their Maypole store into use for years now but their bottom line is either the flats are developed and sold on the open market or they will continue to sit empty. And the conditions attached to the planning permission mean Aldi have fulfilled their obligations to complete the flats to shell specification.
“Lots of residents have been in touch with me to share concerns that the flats are still empty and last year I consulted local residents and asked them what they thought. 89% of people told me that given the circumstances they would prefer that the flats are brought into use without the affordable housing element rather than sit empty for another 10 years.
“This is obviously a very unsatisfactory outcome but given there is no obligation to bring the flats into use because of conditions of the planning permission, at this point down the line and after 10 years of the flats lying empty this seems the only way these flats will be developed.”