Pickles: brokers to renegotiate 'unrealistic' s106 deals

Teams of expert brokers will work with councils to renegotiate section 106 planning deals agreed at the height of the boom that are preventing work on stalled schemes from getting underway, the communities secretary announced today.

Pickles: tackling problems with stalled development is essential
Pickles: tackling problems with stalled development is essential
Eric Pickles said this morning that teams of intermediaries will offer a "free-of-charge" advice and support service to councils and developers to help kick-start the renegotiation of section 106 agreements.

In a statement, the DCLG said that the communities secretary is concerned that too much development is being stalled because of "economically unrealistic" section 106 agreements negotiated between councils and developers at the height of the housing boom.

The statement said that the brokers will begin work immediately with an initial wave of 10 councils – including Leeds, Ipswich, Corby and Swindon - that are keen to address obstacles that are preventing development in their area.

The department said that the experts would provide technical expertise to unlock negotiations, act as go-betweens in disputes and would offer access to a range of support services.

Pickles said: "Tackling problems with stalled development is essential to getting builders back on mothballed sites and building the homes we need. There is huge potential in sites to boost local economies and we simply cannot afford to have them lying idle because of earlier agreements that are no longer viable.

"The support and advice the expert brokers will offer is one of the many measures we have introduced to get development underway and I hope councils grab this chance to make use of the support we are offering."

The DCLG also published a consultation document today on its proposals to give developers the option to ask councils to renegotiate s106 deals if they were agreed prior to April 2010.

Currently, section 106 agreements must be five years old before developers can formally ask for them to be renegotiated.

But under the plans, first unveiled in last year’s housing strategy for England, developers of schemes where a planning permission was agreed before April 2010 would be able to make a formal request for the modification of their section 106 deal one month after the introduction of new regulations. They would be able to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against any refusal.

The DCLG says that according to data from research firm Glenigan there are currently around 1,400 housing schemes of over 10 units with planning permission that are stalled and that 62 per cent of these predate April 2010.

Renegotiation of section 106 planning obligations is available here.

jamie.carpenter@haymarket.com

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