Summary of Responses to NI Consultation on Developer Contributions for Affordable Housing

The Department for Social Development and the Department of the Environment have summarised responses to the consulted on the possible introduction of a Developer Contributions Scheme in Northern Ireland.

Consultation exercises sought views on both the Department of the Environment (DOE) draft Planning Policy Statement 22 and the Department for Social Development (DSD) policy document on the introduction of Developer Contributions in Northern Ireland, which detailed the proposed methodology and context surrounding the introduction of such a system. Within the DSD document, the Department encouraged a response to eight specific questions along with general views and opinions on the introduction of Developer Contributions. This report provides a summary and analysis of the responses DSD received to the proposals contained within the policy. As set out in the consultation documents, DSD has shared consultation responses received with colleagues in DOE, and vice versa, to provide a joined-up approach.

The Department received a total of 75 written responses to the consultation document. Of these responses, 29 organisations (39% of respondents) answered some or all of the consultation questions. Most of the organisations who responded commented on the general policy intention and content of the documents. In total, the Department received over 325 pages of suggestions and comments to the consultation.

A large number of responses received propose more up-to-date and NI-specific research should first be undertaken to fully explore the impact of Developer Contributions on both the supply of affordable housing, and on the house-building industry, in Northern Ireland. Many consultation responses also focused on the timing and lead-in time of any implementation plan for the new policy; a factor which was proposed to be a key part of the new economic research. A significant proportion of the responses also advocate a structured and collaborative approach to this research, offering their co-operation in informing and developing any final policy decisions.

The partial Regulatory Impact Assessment included in the consultation document was also the subject of considerable focus in the responses. This Impact Assessment outlined the need for a small business impact test to be carried out following the consultation and prior to the implementation of any policy (as at the time the policy was being developed, it was difficult to gather sufficiently detailed information on the scale of the house building and development industry in Northern Ireland). The responses to this consultation reinforce the importance of this small business impact test, which consultees indicate must be robust, thorough and developed through broad engagement with partners.

While a developer contribution policy for Northern Ireland has been under consideration for a number of years, this is the first time it has been subject to a full and formal public consultation process. After reflecting on the outcomes of the consultation, the Department will decide on the way ahead for developer contributions in Northern Ireland.

Date: 02/12/2014 Date of publication

Author: Department for Social Development

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 7.3

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