Impact of social rent changes on the delivery of affordable housing

The CLG has issued a letter urging planning authorities to respond constructively, rapidly and positively to requests for section 106 renegotiations and to take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to viability.

The letter states that where it is simply proposed that the tenure mix is adjusted, with the overall affordable housing contribution remaining the same, it is the governments view that this is unlikely to justify reopening viability by either side. We would ask local authorities to expedite such renegotiations so they can be dealt with in a timely manner, and avoid action which might result in unnecessary delay. For example, it would probably not be necessary in all circumstances to take a revised obligation back to planning committee for approval.

The letter adds that should there be a need to reduce the overall amount of affordable housing, the governement strongly encourage local authorities to seek the minimum amount of viability information necessary, for example only that information which compares the financial position immediately prior to the Budget to the current position to justify the requested change.
The letter also states that the government intends to introduce a dispute resolution mechanism to help speed up Section 106 negotiations and that they would also encourage flexible arrangements in the original agreement (for example through cascade mechanisms) so that it allows the delivery of alternative forms of affordable housing if this becomes necessary, and will produce guidance on this shortly.
The government will be contacting local authorities over the next few weeks to understand the extent to which they are being approached to renegotiate Section 106 Agreements, and what action authorities are taking.

Author: DCLG

Date: 9th November 2015 Date of publication

This item updates DCP section 4.61

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