3:43pm Friday 20th April 2012
The council has backed down from a bid to make a small Southgate charity pay a £25,000 charge after the intervention of the Enfield Independent.
Enfield Council had told the UK Thalassaemia Society, based in The Broadway, that it would have to pay the fee in an affordable homes levy before it could split a flat above its office into two to try to increase its income, after grants and donations dried up.
But after the Enfield Independent highlighted the charity’s plight, the council said it would waive the levy on the organisation, which has employed its three staff in the building since 1976.
Councillor Chris Bond, cabinet member for environment, said: “Despite requests from us, the society has refused to forward a detailed viability justification why an exemption from the affordable housing contribution should apply to them in the event of a planning application being approved.
"We are aware that the UK Thalassaemia Society is a small charity and in order to provide support, in this case, Enfield Council is willing to waive the affordable housing contribution which would normally be required for the type of development proposed as the society has forwarded assurances that the profits from the development would be paid back to the charity.
“We will continue to assess cases on an individual basis before deciding whether to award an exemption from the affordable housing contribution.”
The charity currently makes £900 per month from renting the flat out, but wants to double that, and has won the support of Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes.
Thalassaemia is a blood disorder which affects the production of red blood cells, and is particularly prevalent in Mediterranean people, which is why the charity based itself in north London where there are large Turkish, Greek and Cypriot communities.
Director Sema Kiamil had warned that if the charity had to pay the charge it would be forced to stop a project in the north of England which helped sufferers of the disorder.
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