Are there any circumstances where infrastructure contributions through planning obligations should not be sought from developers?
There are specific circumstances where contributions for affordable housing and tariff style planning obligations (section 106 planning obligations) should not be sought from small scale and self-build development.
- contributions should not be sought from developments of 10-units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than 1000sqm
- in designated rural areas, local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5-units or less. No affordable housing or tariff-style contributions should then be sought from these developments. In addition, in a rural area where the lower 5-unit or less threshold is applied, affordable housing and tariff style contributions should be sought from developments of between 6 and 10-units in the form of cash payments which are commuted until after completion of units within the development. This applies to rural areas described under section 157(1) of the Housing Act 1985, which includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- affordable housing and tariff-style contributions should not be sought from any development consisting only of the construction of a residential annex or extension to an existing home
Revision date: 28 11 2014
Paragraph: 013 Reference ID: 23b-013-20141128
Do the restrictions on seeking planning obligations apply to Rural Exception Sites?
The restrictions on seeking planning obligations contributions do not apply to development on Rural Exception Sites – although affordable housing and tariff-style contributions should not be sought from any development consisting only of the construction of a residential annex or extension within the curtilage of the buildings comprising an existing home.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 014 Reference ID: 23b-014-20141128
What are tariff-style contributions?
Some authorities seek planning obligations contributions to pooled funding ‘pots’ intended to provide common types of infrastructure for the wider area.Planning obligations mitigate the impact of development which benefits local communities and supports the provision of local infrastructure. In applying the planning obligations local planning authorities must ensure that these meet the three tests that are set out as statutory tests in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010, and as policy tests in the National Planning Policy Framework. These are: that they are necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms, directly related to the development, and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind. For sites where the threshold applies, planning obligations should not be sought to contribute to pooled funding ‘pots’ intended to fund the provision of general infrastructure in the wider area.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 015 Reference ID: 23b-015-20141128
Can planning obligations be pooled where the threshold does apply?
For sites where the threshold applies, planning obligations should not be sought to contribute to pooled funding ‘pots’ intended to fund the provision of general infrastructure in the wider area.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 016 Reference ID: 23b-016-20141128
How does the 10-unit threshold relate to the statutory definition of major development?
For the purposes of section 106 planning obligations only the definition of 10-units or less applies. This is distinct from the definition of major development in article 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 017 Reference ID: 2a-017-20141128
Are there any exceptions to the 10-unit threshold?
Local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5-units or less to development in designated rural areas being areas as described undersection 157 of the Housing Act 1985, which includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. No affordable housing or tariff-style contributions should then be sought from these developments.Where this lower threshold is applied, local planning authorities should only seek affordable housing contributions from developments of between 6 to 10-units as financial contributions and not affordable housing units on site. Any payments made (whether as an affordable housing contribution or contribution to a pooled funding pot for general infrastructure provision) should also be commuted until after completion of units within the development.Revision date: 28 11 2014See revisionsParagraph: 019 Reference ID: 23b-019-20141128
What is the procedure for claiming a commuted contribution under a planning obligation?
The terms of commuted contributions should form part of the discussions between a developer and a local planning authority and be reflected in any planning obligations agreement. Agreements should include clauses stating when the local planning authority should be notified of the completion of units within the development and when the funds should be paid. Both parties may wish to use the issue of a building regulations compliance certificate (called a completion certificate when given by a local authority and a final certificate when given by an approved inspector) as a trigger for payment.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 020 Reference ID: 23b-020-20141128
Does this mean that no planning obligations can be sought for development under these 5 or 10-unit thresholds?
Some planning obligations may still be required to make a development acceptable in planning terms. For sites where a threshold applies, planning obligations should not be sought to contribute to affordable housing or to pooled funding ‘pots’ intended to fund the provision of general infrastructure in the wider area. Authorities can still seek obligations for site specific infrastructure – such as improving road access and the provision of adequate street lighting – where this is appropriate, to make a site acceptable in planning terms. They may also seek contributions to fund measures with the purpose of facilitating development that would otherwise be unable to proceed because of regulatory or EU Directive requirements.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 021 Reference ID: 23b-021-20141128
What is the vacant building credit?
Where a vacant building is brought back into any lawful use, or is demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer should be offered a financial credit equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of relevant vacant buildings when the local planning authority calculates any affordable housing contribution which will be sought. Affordable housing contributions would be required for any increase in floorspace.Revision date: 28 11 2014Paragraph: 022 Reference ID: 23b-022-20141128
What is the process for determining the vacant building credit?Where there is an overall increase in floorspace in the proposed development, the Local Planning Authority should calculate the amount of affordable housing contributions required from the development as set out in their Local Plan. A ‘credit’ should then be applied which is the equivalent of the gross floorspace of any relevant vacant buildings being brought back into use or demolished as part of the scheme and deducted from the overall affordable housing contribution calculation.Revision date: 28 11 2014
Paragraph: 023 Reference ID: 23b-023-20141128
Does the vacant building credit apply to any vacant building being brought back into use?
The vacant building credit applies where the building has not been abandoned.