Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Not Fully Capitalising on Planning Permission Powers

Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Not Fully Capitalising on Planning Permission Powers

Article excerpt

Councils are failing to use their powers to extract significant resources from commercial developers as a condition of planning permission for new developments, the Audit Commission has found.

They now have a 'narrow window of opportunity' to 'get their act together' and use their powers to help fund road extensions, recreation facilities and extensions to public service infrastructure, such as schools.

The Planning Gain Supplement tax, expected to be introduced after 2008, will make the powers less flexible, said commission senior manager Katie Smith.

The powers are outlined in section 106 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. This enables councils to attach certain obligations to planning permission granted to developers to offset environmental or population pressure created by development through a proportionate investment in local services or infrastructure.

But the Audit Commission's study, Securing community benefits through the planning process, found 'wide variation' between what different councils managed to secure through section 106 obligations. They rarely exceeded 10% of the value of the development and were often much less - ranging from just £500 per dwelling to more than £30,000. …

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