Win for Continuum, Loss for Theresa May

Old Bath Road, Sonning
Old Bath Road, Sonning

25th March 2021

Continuum acted on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council on matters pertaining to viability pursuant to the outline planning application at Old Bath Road, Sonning (ref: 201833) for the demolition of three sizeable residential dwellings to facilitate the erection of 57 dwellings suitable for older persons (Class C3).

The site is located on the outskirts of Sonning in Berkshire, home to some famous names including George Clooney and former Prime Minister Theresa May MP (who actually objected to the application!).

Sonning is considered by Wokingham Borough Council to be a high value area; applications providing 5 or more residential dwellings are required to provide 40% affordable housing. This equated to 22.8 units for the proposed development. Given the proposed tenure affordable housing could not be provided on-site a commuted sum in-lieu amounting to £1,696,706.88 was requested by Council. 

The applicant was Arlington Retirement Lifestyles who initially offered a contribution of £0. S106 Management were acting on behalf of the applicant.

Continuum prepared a detailed review of the viability case submitted by the applicant and engaged in a number of meetings with the applicant and their advisers. The key issues in the case related to the establishment of benchmark land value (BLV) and assumed build costs.

Following Continuum’s involvement in the scheme a full policy-compliant provision of financial contributions towards affordable housing of £1,696,706.88 was offered by the applicant.

Despite high profile opposition the planning application was taken to committee with a recommendation for conditional approval on the 24 March 2021. The committee report is available at the following link:

Agenda for Planning Committee on Wednesday, 24th March, 2021, 7.00 pm - Wokingham Borough Council (