DWD are advising in respect of the redevelopment of a derelict Victorian Mill and surrounding land extending to circa 10.8 acres to deliver a 98 residential unit scheme incorporating circa 13,000 sq ft A3/B1 commercial space in East Sussex. We were instructed by the landowner from scheme inception to provide design and valuation advice as a result of which the proposed scheme layout, residential unit mix and commercial provision for which planning consent is being sought was substantially revised from the initial architect’s proposals.
The Local Planning Authority’s preference was for a predominantly business space scheme to come forward but we were of the opinion that there is very limited occupier demand for such space in this location and only residential development would be capable of generating sufficient value to enable the Mill to be brought back into use. However, planning policy requires the provision of 40% on-site affordable housing units split 65:35 between rented and intermediate provision.
Following the submission of a detailed Viability Report we reached agreement with the Local Planning Authority’s agent that nil affordable housing is justified in planning terms. However, the cost of converting and restoring the Mill is prohibitive and the existing Mill floor plate is such that the proposed scheme encroaches into the flood plain in order to deliver sufficient private residential revenue. Further negotiations with the LPA are therefore currently underway to establish the extent of permissible development having regard to the resultant viability and deliverability of the overall scheme having regard to the site constraints.