Berkshire Councils challenge the Government’s new planning obligation guidance

24 / 02 / 2015

At a time of massive housing shortage both Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire Council have decided jointly to apply for Judicial Review (JR) of the new National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) that removes affordable housing obligations from small-scale residential developments.

The NPPG was amended in November last year by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, who was keen, in his own words, to “…stop small builders and developers being hammered” by s106 obligations”.

The changes to the NPPG introduces new guidance on planning obligations. In particular it refers to contributions for affordable housing and to ‘tariff-style’ planning obligations for small scale housing developments. It is intended that developments of 10 or less residential dwellings will no longer attract affordable housing or a tariff style payment in lieu of off-site affordable housing.

Our partner Steven Smith commented that “…while the Pickles proposal is laudable on its face, I doubt if this will add massively to solving the housing shortage problem or increase the number of small house builders that have disappeared from the sector since the recession. It will also deprive Local Planning Authorities of much needed revenue to spend on affordable property and necessary infrastructure”.

Steven Smith

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Steven Smith