CIL and section 106 'no longer fit for purpose', says shadow planning minister

The Labour Party wants to put communities 'at the heart' of the planning process after years of 'huge deregulation' and believes that the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 systems 'are no longer fit for purpose', the shadow planning minister has said.

Roberta Blackman-Woods speaking at the Planning for Housing conference yesterday
Roberta Blackman-Woods speaking at the Planning for Housing conference yesterday

Speaking on the first day of the Planning for Housing conference yesterday, Roberta Blackman-Woods said that Labour’s new planning commission would look at ways to "put communities back at the heart of planning".

The shadow planning and local government minister said: "We think that the way in which our planning system has developed over years with the huge deregulation is effectively marginalising local communities.

"People think planning is done to them and they don’t have any role in shaping their area for the future and we want to see that reversed."

The shadow minister also said she did not agree with arguments claiming that involving communities in planning would mean less development.

"Neighbourhood planning groups will bring forward more land for housing and higher housing numbers than they’ve been asked to do because often local people know sites that are appropriate for development and are able to identify them in a way that a local authority can’t," she said.

She added that "a partnership of a local authority with a local community could really help bring forward more land".

Elsewhere, Blackman-Woods said the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 systems "are no longer fit for purpose".

"We do need a new system for capturing uplift in land value but, just to be clear, we’re not wedded at the moment to a particular model", she said.

Blackman-Woods said the party wanted to "develop models that enable the uplift values to go back for the short-term and-long term benefit of the local community".

She said the commission would examine the "possibility of a land value tax, amongst other other possible planning gain measures".

But she added: "We’re not locked into a land value tax, it would be quite wrong to do this at the beginning of [the Planning Commission’s work] because we want to use the huge expertise that there is on the commission to explore all avenues for planning gain."

Elsewhere, the shadow minister said the new commission would look at giving councils "increased powers to incentivise higher build-out rates" and would examine "whether changes need to be made to improve compulsory purchase orders to improve land supply".

She also said the commission would look at developers "automatically" being given planning permission for new homes where a site has been identified for such use by the local community. This would provide "an incentive for developers to build within the parameters of the local plan", she said.

The shadow minister further said that Labour wanted to see more housing estate regeneration schemes go ahead to help boost housing supply.

The party is due to put out call for evidence for the commission on 25 October, Blackman-Woods added.

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