HC Deb 17 June 2004 vol 422 cc43-4WS
The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill)

In the light of the report of the Barker review of housing supply,Delivering stability: Securing our future housing needs, published on 17 March, the Government has reviewed its plans for taking forward the reform of planning obligations foreshadowed in the consultation paper, Contributing to Sustainable Communities; a new approach to planning obligations, published in November 2003.

The Government proposed in its November 2003 consultation paper a number of measures aimed at improving the current negotiating arrangements under s106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (amended by the 1991 Act), and a new optional planning charge. Sections 46 and 47 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 provide powers to make regulations to implement changes to the planning obligations system.

Separately, the Barker report recommended that the Government should introduce a planning-gain supplement (PGS) tied to the granting of planning permission so that part of landowner development gains could contribute to wider benefits for the community. It also recommended that, if the Government were minded to do this, planning obligations should be scaled back to cover direct impacts and mitigation along with affordable and social housing requirements".

The Government agreed that it was in principle acceptable to fund social housing and other measures out of the uplift in land values associated with the development process and the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in the Budget report of 17 March 2004 that he would consider proposals for a national PGS and make a decision by the end of 2005.

Against this background the Government now proposes to take matters forward as follows.

The Government will press ahead with identifying and implementing changes to the current arrangements for negotiated agreements. It will do this by revising the current circular 1/97 on planning obligations and publishing good practice guidance for local authorities and developers. The aim is to issue a draft revised circular for consultation in autumn 2004 with a view to putting the new arrangements in place early in 2005.

The Government will continue to work up proposals in parallel for an optional planning charge, on a timetable consistent with that for decisions on the PGS. During this process, the Government will also encourage a number of local authorities to pilot options for charging by local authorities.

In developing all these proposals we will work closely with our stakeholders, including my advisory group on planning obligations the membership of which is drawn from the major planning, housing, developer, voluntary sector and local authority interests.