The Government has announced a package of measures to help support smaller developers.
Earlier this year the Government announced a consultation on raising affordable housing thresholds to 10 dwellings, meaning that Councils would not be able to secure affordable housing and other contributions from smaller proposals.
The results of that consultation exercise have now been announced. There are special provisions for rural areas.
The changes come in with immediate effect. Paragraph 012 (relating to Planning Obligations) of the National Planning Practice Guidance now states:
Are there any circumstances where infrastructure contributions through planning obligations should not be sought from developers?
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