Autumn Statement: Councils that lose at appeal could be denied bonus

Payments from a bonus paid to town halls for each new home built in their area could be withheld in instances where councils have objected to development and approvals are granted on appeal, the chancellor has announced.

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, delivered today, reveals that the government will consult on measures to "improve further the incentive of the New Homes Bonus".

The document says that these measures could in particular include "withholding payments where local authorities have objected to development, and planning approvals are granted on appeal".

Earlier this year, the New Homes Bonus was criticised by public spending watchdog the National Audit Office. The watchdog said in its report that it had seen "little evidence" that the bonus had made significant changes to local authorities’ behaviour towards increasing housing supply.

Osborne said that the government will launch a review into the role local authorities can play in supporting overall housing supply.

The chancellor also announced in his Autumn Statement that the government will consult on a new 10 unit threshold for section 106 affordable housing contributions "to reduce costs for small builders".

And the Autumn Statement document revealed that the government will consult on increasing the threshold for designation under its controversial "special measures" policy from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of decisions made on time.

Last month, Blaby District Council was the first council to be officially placed in special measures, having decided fewer than 30 per cent of major applications on time over a two-year period.

Under the policy, developers can choose to submit major applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate where a council has been designated.

Autumn Statement 2013 is available here.

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