Chapman Lily Planning Ltd reported last week on the judgement in the Court of Appeal in favour of the Government’s policy to exempt small development schemes from the need to have affordable housing included in them.
Following that Court of Appeal ruling the government has today formally updated its Planning Policy Guidance Notes and reintroduced the relevant sections relating to planning obligations. The updates include that affordable housing and tariff style planning obligations (section 106 planning obligations) should not be sought from small scale and self-build development. These are developments of 10-units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floor space of no more than 1000sqm. In designated rural areas, which include National Parks 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.
This updated guidance applies from today and will therefore be a factor in the determination of any qualifying current or future planning application. In addition, the updated guidance confirms that there is a mechanism available in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for existing Section 106 Legal Agreements to be renegotiated where they no longer serve a useful purpose. Therefore, for any existing planning permissions that are subject to affordable housing or tariff style contributions that would now be exempted developers can apply to the Local Authority to have those reviewed.
The updated guidance also re-introduces the Vacant Building Credit. This means that 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 floor space of relevant vacant buildings when the local planning authority calculates any affordable housing contribution which will be sought.
If you would like any more information on these issues then please contact us.