Friday, 06 March 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

Readers' comments (8)

  • F451

    Great - don't like your Sec106 obligations, just wait, do nothing, and then have them removed so that all the gain is the developers and the community can go hang.

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  • in leeds developers are revising their affordable housing commitments down as we speak

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  • Nicole M

    I agree with you F451. If a developer speculatively bought some land before the market fell, the community pays for their failed gamble. I wish my investments were underwritten in the same way.

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  • Only question is, why does it only relate to S106's signed before April 2010?

    Local Planning Authorities have continued to demand unviable planning obligation packages since that date and land owners have acquiesced for fear of not getting approval even though the permission will not be capable of implementation.

    Hopefully the threat of review will allow some common sense to prevail.

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  • F451: You moan about not enough houses being built and then you say developers are using it to shirk S106. It only applies to before April 2010, so only projects that have stalled for sure and it is to encourage to build.

    I have been shocked at the figures one developers was asked for £36k for 8 flats and another for £200k for 11flats.

    F451: Stop being so negative. Housebuilders are doing a service. It takes up to 2 years to build houses. Between that time you have continuous outgoings, buildings materials, wages, professional fees etc...

    It is only after two years, that you can put houses up for sale. So you have to wait until 6 months.

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  • F451

    That is why they have a business plan Concerned Landlord - they are very useful things, you should research them for your own business. That way you will maybe understand that you do not work for free!

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  • F541: A business plan, is only a guide. It does not reflect the real world. When someone buys a site with a view to applying for planning permission, they have no what the local authority will charge them. So how can you budget for somethign that is not in your control?.

    In 2005, I did build a house and all I can say it was a painful project. The water company took seven months to hook us up to water supply.

    When we contacted the water company. They sent someone to survey the site and send us an invoice for connection to the water network and sewers. We had to wait in a QUEUE for 4 months. They have a monopoly. So you could not go to anyone else.

    After waiting for 4 months, it was finally the day we were due to get the water company to hook us up. Their contractor turned up at the site and 'walked off' with no explanation. Apparently, there was a discrepency between the water company's survey and the contractor. So why could n't they sort it whilst on site?. So we lost our turn in the queue. After a lot of letters, it was another 3 months before everything got sorted. I did n't get a penny in compensation.

    They can get away with such poor service as they are a monopoly.

    As for the gas company, well that is another bunch of jokers. Their queue is about 2 month. So you get one company to connect you to the gas network and leave that white box outside the house. And then you have to wait another 6 weeks before they update their computers and register your address, so that you are a gas customer and elegible to receive a gas meter. Even then they screwed up and gave a gas meter with NO gas card, it meant no gas until the gas card was given. It holds up the other trades like the gas fitter....

    Do you think you can capture this in a business plan?

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  • F451

    It appears your Risk Management within your Business Plan was lacking.

    Your personal experience of how the privatised utilities operate should stand as a wonderful example as to why resisting the privatisation of housing is so important.

    I appreciate your honesty Concerned Landlord - I now believe that you are working for nothing.

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