Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Planning gain, or planning loss

Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows local planning authorities (LPA) to enter into a legally binding planning obligation or agreement with a developer over a related issue for the purpose of restricting or regulating the development or use of the land. This obligation is termed a Section 106 Agreement.

In other words, the council can demand that a developer, who will gain from being given planning permission, puts something back into the community. This can be an improvement to access roads, a contribution to a school, or some other public amenity.

For instance, the developer of the Drumfields estate in Cadoxton agreed to set aside and equip a children's playground as part of the development. Unfortunately, the developer became insolvent before the playground could be set up and, as I understand it, the earmarked site was bought and developed as dwellings in turn.

Councillors John Warman and Des Sparkes have drawn attention to yet another example of a builder going bust before fulfilling their obligation. Coincidences, as the old journalist's adage has it, go in threes, so I do not have enough evidence to show a pattern here. However, there does appear to be a loophole in the law here. One trusts that council officers will ensure that Coed Darcy reaps all its intended planning gain.

Any evidence giving background to the two cases above, or any other instances, are welcome.

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