Government Guidance

22nd December 2014

The Government recently published new guidance relating to planning obligations.

At this early stage the guidance is open to a degree of interpretation and is subject to further clarification. At present, we consider that the guidance states the following:

  • Affordable housing and tariff style s.106 obligations should not be sought from developments of 10 or less units, provided they have a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than 1000sq/m. At present it is our view that in Oxfordshire this 10 unit (1000sqm) or less threshold applies to all areas outside the AONBs (see below).
  • In designated rural areas, local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5 units or less from which no affordable housing or tariff style s.106 contributions can be sought. Designated rural areas include National Parks and AONBs and other areas designated rural under section 157(1) of the Housing Act 1985. Although we have not seen a definitive list, we understand that other than the AONBs, no other areas of Oxfordshire are designated rural under the Housing Act 1985.
  • In designated rural areas (including the AONBs) where the lower 5 unit or less threshold is implemented no gross floorspace threshold would apply enabling larger units.
  • In designated rural areas (including the AONBs), developments of between 6 and 10 units will necessitate cash payments towards affordable housing and tariff style s.106 contributions. These contributions will however be commuted until after the completion of the units;
  • No affordable housing or s.106 contributions should be sought from any development consisting only of the construction of a residential annex or extension to an existing home. The new guidelines are effective now and in our view are a material consideration to be applied in planning decisions.

Additionally, if you have an extant permission for a development of up to 10 units requiring affordable housing of tariff style s.106 contributions, it may be worth considering resubmitting the application or renegotiating with the LPA to benefit from these changes.

Back to news