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Reforming the planning system to boost house building

Posted: 10th April 2015   In: Commercial Property

The government wants to speed up the planning system and make it easier for developers to build more houses.

The proposals centre on ‘section 106’ agreements, which oblige developers to meet certain conditions before planning permission is granted. These conditions often involve issues such as building new roads for improved access and providing an affordable housing element. Developers may also be required to make a contribution to other local schemes.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Section 106 planning agreements can bring great benefits to local communities but too often they drag out planning applications for months.

“That’s why I’m proposing measures that will speed up the process, get planning permissions granted quicker and workers on site earlier, all the while keeping the community benefits that these agreements can bring.”

The government is now considering a number of ideas to improve the system. The proposals include:

• setting clear time limits so section 106 negotiations are completed in line with the existing 8 to 13 week target for planning applications to be processed rather than letting them slow the whole planning process down
• requiring parties to start discussions at the beginning of the planning application process, rather than the current system where negotiations can often start towards the end
• a dispute resolution process where negotiations stall, preventing development
• using standardised documents to avoid agreements being drafted from scratch for each and every application
• potential legislation in the next parliament to give new measures teeth.

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact Hugh Beeley if you would like more information about the issues raised in the article or any legal matter relating to planning and development.

Posted by: Hugh Beeley
Commercial Property
Luton Office