Eric Pickles has today confirmed plans to exempt self-builders and renovators from planning contributions under Section 106.
The measure means sites of 10 units or less are exempt from affordable housing and tariff-style contributions under Section 106. This will include self-builds, extensions and annexes.
Build It magazine understands the change will be effective immediately.
The policy will save self-builders and homeowners keen to extend their properties an average of around £15,000 per home.
Section 106 allows local authorities to charge a development fee as a ‘planning obligation’ attached to a piece of land. The scale of these fees is often unknown until very late in the planning stages for a project. What’s more, payment is usually required before work can begin on site. This can have a devastating impact on the viability of self-builds, extensions and similar schemes.
The government launched a consultation on a proposed 10-unit threshold for Section 106 affordable housing contributions earlier this year. It received responses from hundreds of developers, organisations and individuals – including self-builders.
The exemption mirrors the existing relief for self- builds and extensions from the Community Infrastructure Levy. The CIL is due to supersede Section 106 contributions in April 2015).
The relief is designed to support and incentivise self-builders and small-scale developments (especially on brownfield land) without adversely impacting on local contributions to affordable homes and infrastructure.
In urban areas, the threshold for Section 106 affordable housing and tariff-style contributions will be 10 units with a maximum combined floor space of 1,000m2.
For designated rural areas, such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, authorities will be able to implement a lower 5-unit threshold if they wish. In these areas, charges levied on developments of 6-10 units will be commuted until after they’ve been completed.
The exemption will also apply to extensions and annexes.
This will be a massive boost to the self-build and custom build sector,” said communities secretary Eric Pickles. “Overnight in many parts of England, it will be cheaper to build an extension, a family annex or just build your own home. Our long-term economic plan is helping hardworking people.”
“There is no denying that we need affordable housing, but trying to squeeze ever higher contributions out of every last site is having a devastating and counter-productive effect on small scale development,” said Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders. “The new 10 unit threshold for affordable housing contributions is a sensible and proportionate approach.”
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