A DEVELOPER has been allowed to drastically cut the number of affordable homes in a development because it paid too much for the site.

Bloor Homes Eastern initially won planning permission to redevelop the former Premdor factory site in Station Road, Sible Hedingham, after offering to make 58 of the 193 homes affordable.

Last year, the developer applied to Braintree Council to reduce the number of cheaper homes to nine.

After the council rejected the bid, Bloor Homes appealed.

Now, it has been told it only has to provide 16 affordable homes on the development.

The inspector said it was “regrettable” that Bloor Homes had paid too much, given the “abnormal costs” that had not been foreseen, including clearing the site.

He said rejecting the appeal would delay the development at a time when the government wanted more homes to be built.

Sible Hedingham resident, Nick Barton, said: “What I want to know is how often this happens.

“How often do a big company like Bloor come into an area, promise 58 affordable houses and then completely change their plans?

"They say it is because they won’t make enough money.

“I cannot believe that a huge company like that don’t know how much it is going to cost to go in and clear a previously industrial site.”

Sible Hedingham Parish Council chairman Ron Volkwyn added: “It really is sad. We insisted that these houses would be affordable and they agreed but that is no longer the case.

“I have my own business and if I estimate wrong, that is known in the trade as tough luck.

“They have got away with it, but there is nothing we can do, there is nothing Braintree can do about it. It seems they have won here. It is disgraceful.”

Bloor was not available for comment.