Changes to Planning Performance and Planning Contributions
Recent government consultations regarding changes to Section 106 (s106) thresholds will have dramatic changes to the planning system. Proposed in the Autumn Statement of 2013 was a change to a 10 unit threshold and 1,000 sqm gross floor space threshold for affordable housing contributions through s106 planning contributions.
This proposal in essence was aimed at encouraging the development of smaller sites to be brought forward for development, by releasing small scale developers from a disproportionate burden.
Recent consultation from November 2014 has clarified the new planning permission for exemptions of small development schemes as follows:
On sites of 10 units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floor space of 1,000 sqm, affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought.
In rural areas designated under section 157 of the Housing Act 1985, which includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, authorities may choose to implement a lower threshold of 5 units or less, beneath which affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought.
Further to this should the 5 unit threshold be implemented then payment of affordable housing and tariff style contributions on developments between 6 – 10 units should also be sought as cash payment only and be receivable after the completion of the development.
This guidance is currently still in the process of being implemented and it is likely that councils will be at differing stages of implementation. If you are planning on undertaking development of a site it is imperative to check with the local council as to their current position regarding these new thresholds.
Revised guidance will be published on the Planning Portal website to assist authorities in implementing these changes in due course.
Currently further information can be found here.