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Developers: is your housing scheme viable?

After 30 April 2016, the right to apply to have an affordable housing requirement in a planning obligation changed will fall away.  

The right to apply to the local authority to change or discharge affordable housing requirements where they make the development unviable has been a useful tool for developers. It has assisted them in bringing forward developments which would otherwise have stalled. However, the provisions which enable developers to make such applications will end on 30 April 2016. 

There has been some confusion over whether it is enough to submit an application by 30 April 2016, or if the local authority must have made its decision by that date. This has now been clarified by the Department for Communities and Local Government's chief planner, Steve Quartermain. In a letter to chief planning officers, he confirmed that: "Applications can be submitted to the appropriate authority under section 106BA until the end of April 2016, and if an application is submitted before that date a subsequent appeal to the secretary of state will generally still be considered."

The message is clear. If you are concerned that affordable housing requirements in your planning obligation make the development unviable, you must act quickly. Any applications must be submitted (and validated) by 30 April 2016.

Key facts:

  • Sections 106BA, 106BB and 106BC of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 enable developers to apply to modify, replace, remove or discharge affordable housing requirements in planning obligations where they make the development unviable.
  • These provisions came into force in April 2013, and will come to an end on 30 April 2016.

Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at April 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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