Urban Planning and Real Estate Development

By John Ratcliffe; Michael Stubbs | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

Planning gain and planning obligations
Planning gain is a term familiar to many professionals working in property development. However, it is also a misleading and ill defined term. Since 1991 the Government discouraged its use and preferred the term “planning obligations”. This chapter will seek to define the planning gain and obligations system and will consider the subject in two sections dealing with the legal and philosophical context of the subject. The study of planning gain/planning obligations exposes the tension that exists between the town planning system and the property development industry. At its most fundamental it involves examination of who should pay for the wider environmental impact of a development proposal, the developer or the local authority. This chapter will examine the workings of the system, dealing separately with the legal or procedural rules that guide the practical implementation of planning obligations, and the broader, more philosophical, debate as to whether such obligations represent a form of development tax or a legitimate development cost. A series of case studies will focus on what is considered to constitute good and bad practice. The chapter will be subdivided as follows:
• the legal issues
• the philosophical issues.

Background

The many misconceptions surrounding this subject are in part explained by the lack of a single and widely used definition and the use of a variety of titles relating to the practice of planning gain. Research (Healey et al. 1993) discovered the use of twelve terms to describe the same function.1 The term “planning gain”

1. Planning gain, community gain, community benefit, planning advantage, planning requirements, planning obligations, planning agreements, developer’s contribution, legal arrangements, improvements and additional facilities, community impacts, environmental impacts.

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