Millionaire developer Candy locked in £15 million affordable homes subsidy battle

The millionaire developer behind London’s priciest block of flats, One Hyde Park, is pleading poverty over his latest project.
Christian Candy paid £34 million for a Thames-side site at Billingsgate, near Tower Bridge, and hired Norman Foster to draw up plans for Sugar Quay, 165 flats on the site of Tate & Lyle’s former offices.

Now he is locked in a battle with the City of London over providing a donation for affordable homes in the borough in return for planning permission. The council has turned down his offer of half the £15 million it had demanded. He claims the full subsidy would render his scheme unviable.

When the scheme was granted planning permission, in 2013, the City requested £15 million.

However, the CPC Group, the property company run by Mr Candy that is working in a joint venture with Barratt, requested that payment be slashed in half, to £7.5 million. 
An independent expert was called in to adjudicate and he suggested a compromise of £11.2 million, saving the brothers close to £4 million.

However, members of the City’s planning and transportation committee this week declined to accept the offer and accused Mr Candy of being greedy.

Committee member Cllr James Thomson said: “In my view the reduction sought by the developer was not appropriate or justified … the scheme could afford the full payment towards social housing and still remain fully viable.

“My personal view is that this was a case of the developer simply seeking to maximise returns, at the expense of meeting the required commitments to social housing.
“Consequently, I voted against accepting the proposal put forward, as did a number of my colleagues, and the proposal was rejected.”

Annie Hampson, the City’s development director, had supported the lower payment, pointing out that some money was better than none at all. 

“The City would receive a substantial affordable housing payment, albeit less than would be achieved if the full policy compliant payment were to be made,” read a report presented to the committee. 

Preparation work has already begun on the Sugar Quay site, but the entire scheme will remain in limbo until the City and Mr Candy can reach accord.

The plans for Sugar Quay show it will reach up to 11 storeys and feature an indoor “cloister” garden, plus leisure facilities including pool, library, gym and residents’ lounge and function room, plus a café and restaurant.

Each flat will have huge floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies to make the most of the views over Tower Bridge and City Hall.

No information on pricing has yet been given, but flats in the City overlooking the Thames currently sell for more than £4 million, while penthouses with direct river views comfortably sell for upwards of £10 million.

A spokesman for the CPC, the property company run by Mr Candy, declined to comment.


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