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Districts hit out at planning rule

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The District Councils Network (DCN) has opposed proposals to keep a restriction on how councils use planning contributions from developers.

In a response to the government’s consultation on developer contributions, Mark Crane (Con), members’ board lead for stronger economies, said DCN had “real concerns” about retaining the maximum of five section 106 planning gain contributions that councils can pool on any one project.

For example, a new road serving six developments could only receive a contribution from five of them unless the council is among the minority that have implemented the community infrastructure levy (CIL).

Cllr Crane said keeping the restriction would be “a hindrance to the delivery of new housing, particularly in lower-value areas.

“Section 106 pooling restrictions should be lifted completely, under all circumstances, and at the earliest possible opportunity, to help improve the delivery of new housing.”

The DCN also responded to a separate consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework in which it objected to plans to penalise councils for delays in deciding on planning applications.

Cllr Crane said: “Penalising councils for delays that are not under their control is misplaced and unfair because local authorities are approving nine out of ten planning applications.”

DCN also called for councils to have greater financial freedoms to build homes, including retention of all right to buy receipts, scrapping the borrowing cap for the Housing Revenue Account and enhanced powers of compulsory purchase for site assembly.

 

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