Thursday, 26 November 2015

Councils face compulsory early section 106 reviews

Councils could be forced to review section 106 agreements on stalled sites after just two years, under government plans.

Get on our land

The government’s Laying the foundations housing strategy, published yesterday, says a consultation on plans to cut the time period from five years to two will be issued in December or January.

The proposals would allow developers to require local authorities to review section 106 agreements signed before April 2010 on sites where work has stalled.

The agreements place obligations on developers to provide facilities that benefit the community, including affordable housing. Builders have complained that agreements reached in more prosperous times now make schemes unviable.

The housing strategy contains a range of other measures to boost housing development. A £400 million fund will kickstart stalled sites, and the government is also pressing ahead with plans to free up public sector land for house building.

It is setting up a group of experts led by Berkeley chairman Tony Pidgley to advise on maximising development on key public sector sites that have the potential to deliver ‘significant numbers of new homes’.

The government is also moving forward with plans to pilot land auctions on public sector sites. Local authorities will be invited to work with public sector landowners to apply for planning permission for sites and sell them in open competition. The proceeds would be shared between the authority and the landowner.

Sites for the land auction pilots are due to be confirmed next month.

Nick Jopling, executive property director at Grainger, said the £400 million was a ‘welcome shot in the arm for the housing sector’ and that it was good to see the government pushing ahead with the release of public sector land.

Inside Housing is calling for more land to be made available for housing through our Get on our land campaign

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