The Government recently published changes to the online planning guidance (Planning Policy Guidance) identifying that small scale developers and self-builders are no longer required to provide (or contribute towards) affordable housing.
Paragraph 012 of the PPG states,
“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.”
Since the publication of this guidance a number of local authorities were trying to determine how they respond. However, in a letter signed on behalf of the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, MP Brandon Lewis. Mr Lewis states, “The measures are not discretionary. As national planning policy, the thresholds introduced on 28th November 2014 are a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. An applicant does not have to enter into a section 106 agreement with the local authority. If this results in planning permission being subsequently refused, the decision may be appealed. This allows the judgement of the authority to be tested independently by the Planning Inspectorate.”
The National Planning Policy Guidance can be viewed by clicking the link below. https://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk.
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