Council blasts planning proposals
Friday 5 October 2012
Government plans to allow developers to drop affordable housing requirements are unacceptable.
That is the clear message from Coventry City Council to a national consultation on the issue as they believe it will do nothing to kick-start the ailing construction industry.
Under the proposals, developers could no longer have to provide funding - through what is known as a Section 106 agreement - to deliver affordable housing or improving infrastructure and facilities in a particular area.
The new plans would also enable developers to appeal to Planning Inspectors and drop current planning obligations to build affordable housing as part of their schemes.
The proposals to relax the section 106 regime were announced by the Government last month as part of a wider housing package intended to boost house building and the economy.
This followed the launch of a consultation in August on proposals to give developers the option to ask councils to renegotiate section 106 obligations that were agreed prior to April 2010. Currently these obligations cannot be renegotiated for five years once a council refuses a request for voluntary renegotiation by a developer.
Councillor Ed Ruane, Coventry City Council's Cabinet member for Housing, believes the government proposals are a massive step in the wring direction.
He said: The plan to allow Planning Inspectors to overturn Section 106 is an attack on social housing.
"Speaking to developers and builders Section 106 is not the issue why developments are not going ahead and this proposal does not tackle the wider issue.
"All that will happen is that money earmarked to provide affordable housing and better infrastructure in the area will be taken away.
"The only way to get development off the ground is to have speedy, local decisions. We do not need further delay and we certainly do not need a Planning Inspectorate that can ride rough-shod over existing agreements."
Cllr Ruane added: "This proposal flies in the face of the government's Localism agenda as in effect they would be allowing national Planning Inspectors to overturn decisions made by locally accountable councils.
"It is the opposite of Localism as it is n effect it is outrageously centralising and could actually cause further delay in the system, as companies wait for the new rules before proceeding with projects."