Futures Forum: Missing out on developers' S106 funds...
the District Council will be considering the newly-proposed regime:
The East Devon Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule (DCS) has now been submitted for Examination alongside the New Local Plan. Mr Anthony Thickett BA(hons) BTP MRTPI Dip RSA has been appointed as the Planning Inspector. In the draft hearings programme, the Inspector has indicated that the CIL Examination is likely to be heard on Thursday 13 March 2014 following the conclusion of the main Local Plan Examination hearings. Further information is available on the Programme Officer webpage.
East Devon District Council - Community Infrastructure Levy
This is the view from central government:
Community infrastructure levy
This is the view from Wikipedia:
But what do we mean by 'planning gain'? Who exactly is 'gaining'?
An interesting and helpful publication from 2008 asks some important questions:
The No Pain Guide To Gain: A community guide to planning obligations
from the Future Planning project, a collaboration between the Ethical Property Foundation, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and the Rayne Foundation.
Here are some commentaries which are more critical:
Section 106 agreements are not compulsory, but the effects are nonetheless enforceable. Some are at the instigation of developers, whilst others are at the behest of local authorities. Some are so draconian by nature that they are do this or else, or if this does not happen then the permission granted cannot proceed. many of these agreements can be likened to planning bribes, or in planning terms 'planning gain'.
Planning Conditions Forum
Planning Gain: Community Benefit Or Commercial Bribe?. - Debenham Tewson & Chinnocks. Land Development Consultancy and Planning Dept - Google Books
An on-line debate from April this year:
> No, planning gain is not bribery. A planning gain contribution cannot make acceptable an application which is unacceptable in planning terms.
> I would really like to agree with that, unfortunately the planning authorities seem very weak when it comes to dealing with rapacious developers. Planning gain often is pathetically misused too.
> Oh come on, 106 agreements have always lubricated the wheels, if not permitted what would otherwise have been rejected.
A pickled planning policy | Vote UK Forum
From George Monbiot in 1996:
All over the country, developments which seem to provide no lasting benefit for any but a few well-furnished felines are fervently embraced. Why?
There is no single answer, but the code which cracks the greater part of this riddle is contained in a term which speaks crabbed volumes of official euphemism and obfuscation: “planning gain.” The English translation is legalised bribery.
Developers are entitled to modify the plans they present to a local authority by introducing benefits to the community, such as a clump of affordable homes in the midst of an executive estate, or a new bus shelter outside a supermarket. “Gains” like this, which relate directly to the original development, are largely unobjectionable; but increasingly developers have found that they can curry more favour by shifting the gain “offsite”, offering to build a sports hall or a roundabout on the other side of town, if only the council will allow them to build a superstore here. Often the offer of cash comes first, the decision about what to do with it, later.
Planning is perceived as monumentally tedious. It is the territory of bureaucrats and busybodies, nimbies and nutcases. Yet, perhaps more nearly than any other aspect of government, it prescribes both the control over and the quality of our existence. Planning is the means by which development (the force which shapes our lives) is brought to public account. When it fails, development ceases to work for the public good, and works instead for those who have money to make from it.Decisions For Sale | George Monbiot
From the Telegraph in 2003:
Others have had it worse. Persimmon had to order staff to down trowels 30 houses into a Midlands development of 400 after the local council made some final demands. It wanted a contribution to highway improvements, which were nothing to do with the development itself. Again, it was almost a year before the brickies were finally back on site last month.
Much as it sounds like bribery, planning gain is rife. Under Section 106, as it is formally known, developers are obliged to repair roads or put in social housing as a condition of approvals. Last year, the industry estimates that Section 106 contributions came to £5billion.
The money, though, is not the problem - builders are making record profits at the moment. The issue is the delay such negotiations cause. Housebuilding grandees can remember when a six-month wait for planning approval was considered a delay.
From the British Property Federation in 2005:
> This incoherence leads to lengthy and often bad-tempered negotiations which hold up much needed development, add to developer costs (thus leaving less funds to meet local requirements) and consume scarce local authority resource.
> Local authorities are often accused of 'blackmailing' developers with last minute demands; developers have been accused of 'bribing' local authorities by offering more than is necessary to obtain their planning permission.
> Local authorities do not plan strategically for the funding of provision of infrastructure by developers. They simply keep loading the s106 until the developer objects. This does not provide a stable framework for achieving essential items such as social/ affordable housing.
From the New Statesman in 2007:
A corrupt system that affects us all
And from the Adam Smith Institute this April:
Fracking: compensate locals, not councils | Adam Smith Institute