Information about financial benefits: Update 16 June 2016

Section 155 places a new duty on local authorities to consider the potential financial benefits of development proposals when considering whether to grant planning permission, with a view to persuading local people to voice support.

National Planning Practice Guidance already encourages local planning authorities to highlight the financial benefit of development proposals, even where they are immaterial to a planning decision. This new provision would require committee reports on non-delegated applications to record a list of likely financial benefits for the council if a proposed development is carried out, "so far as is reasonably possible". Officers will still need to indicate their view on whether the benefit is material or not, the government has said.

A Department for Communities and Local Government technical consultation issued on 18 February said local finance considerations already set out in guidance include Community Infrastructure Levy receipts and central government grants such as the New Homes Bonus. It said that other financial considerations should also be set out in committee reports on applications, including likely council tax receipts, business rate revenue and section 106 payments. It recognised that these figures will be best estimates when reports are produced and offered further suggestions on how they can be calculated.

Commencement: These provisions will come into force on a date to be prescribed by regulations.

Comment:  Stepping up the duty could cause problems for councils in assessing the uplift, Planning Officers Society board chairman Mike Kiely warned. "This is a very odd and burdensome requirement," he said. Indigo Planning associate Ben Frodsham voiced doubts about whether it would encourage local support for development: "By the time the committee report is publicly available, it is often too late for the public to comment on the proposal."

The DCLG technical consultation document is here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/501239/Planning_consultation.pdf

More on this topic:
Will listing financial benefits in reports boost local buy-in?


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