31 March 2022

Government presses on with plans to scrap section 106. Matthew Evans speaks to React News.

The government has recommitted to scrapping section 106 and replacing it with a new infrastructure levy, with further details on the long-awaited planning reforms to be revealed in the Queen’s speech on May 10th.

Planning Counsel, Matthew Evans spoke to React News about the government’s plans and whilst applauding the intentions to bring forward a uniform levy to simplify the system, commented that “.. it is difficult to see how this will work in practice. Affordable housing provision is complicated because of the number and variety of stakeholders involved in its delivery. There have been numerous previous attempts to abolish S106 and bring forward a single levy over the years, including Planning Gain Supplement and the Community Infrastructure Levy. However, these were shelved or altered, and s106 prevailed, largely due to the complexity of dealing with the provision of affordable housing. Given the sheer number of affordable housing options and the viability stress testing that already takes place, it is highly unlikely that there is a simple replacement to S106.

“The lack of both clarity on timeframes and detail also makes it difficult for developers and local authorities. We are already seeing cases where Local Plans and Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedules are being paused, affecting local authority budgets and their ability to plan. I suspect that number may increase after this response.”

The article was first published in React News on 30 March 2022 and is available to read in full here, behind the paywall.

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