Unspent open space contribution still served a useful purpose

The discharging of a planning obligation requiring the payment of a contribution towards open space provision or equipment at a residential development in a Devon settlement was refused as the agreement still served a useful purpose, despite having been paid by the applicant but not used by the council.

The sum of £46,109.25 had been paid to the council in 2005 in connection with the open space contributions set out in a s106 agreement dated 2003. The issue in dispute was the fact that the monies had not been spent by the council since completion, but it was unclear when that was. The appellant argued the houses were substantially completed in 2005, but the council argued that works to the highway were still taking place in 2011. As the agreement did not contain any specific time limit or provision for payback, the inspector held the time of completion was immaterial. Neither did the agreement specify a project for the monies to be used for, but the inspector held it was clear in that they would be used for open space provision within the vicinity of the site, which was in accordance with adopted SPD requirements. Given the dwellings had now been constructed, it was likely they were placing demands on open space nearby and therefore, despite the time now elapsed, the inspector felt the contribution was necessary, met the tests of the CIL regulations and still served a useful purpose.

Inspector: G P Jones; Written representations

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