Ministers rule out extension of affordable housing appeal mechanism

Ministers have decided not to extend a temporary appeal mechanism that allows developer to challenge section 106 affordable housing obligations beyond the end of April, Planning has learned.

Chatham Quays: council's legal challenge dismissed by High Court judge (picture: David Anstiss, Geograph)
Chatham Quays: council's legal challenge dismissed by High Court judge (picture: David Anstiss, Geograph)

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 introduced an application and appeal procedure to review affordable housing obligations, where these make schemes unviable. A "sunset clause" inserted into the Act by the government meant that the operation of the mechanism would cease on 30 April 2016.

Last November’s joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement announced that the government would "extend the ability to appeal against unviable section 106 agreements to 2018".

But ministers have now decided not to extend the the mechanism after 30 April. Planning understands that applications can still be submitted to the relevant authority under section 106BA until the end of April.

A DCLG spokesman said: "The provisions were introduced as a temporary measure aimed at unlocking sites which had stalled because the planning obligation to provide affordable housing had rendered the development scheme unviable."

"Councils and developers have a number of options beyond S106 (BA-106BC) for re-negotiating affordable housing obligations."

The appeal mechanism has led to a series of clashes between developers and local planning authorities.

Most recently, the High Court dismissed a council's attempt to overturn an inspector's decision to free the developer of a scheme comprising more than 300 flats in the Thames Gateway from a commitment to pay a £1 million off-site affordable housing contribution.

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