Responding to Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) proposals which would allow developers to ask councils to renegotiate previously agreed Section 106 obligations, Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said:
"It is in no one's interest to see important developments stall and councils are working hard to find ways of getting projects underway, including looking again at Section 106 agreements where appropriate.
"These agreements ensure developers provide vital infrastructure for local communities, from roads and street lighting to parks and community centres. In most cases, negotiating away benefits is not the answer to stalled development.
"Lack of liquidity in the finance market and limited availability of mortgages stagnating demand are the real hurdles to viability, not the cost of providing much-needed Section 106 infrastructure.
"Local authorities across the country have been working to overcome the real barriers to new building by contributing land and assets, forming partnerships with developers and overwhelmingly saying ‘yes' to growth through the planning system.
"Councils will welcome in principle the offer of support from the Homes and Communities Agency to renegotiate agreements should it be required. However, help should only come at the specific request of individual councils. It is very important that assistance is not imposed as it sends the message to developers and the community that infrastructure contributions are at risk.
"Renegotiating away contributions that benefit local residents and businesses could prove hugely counterproductive as it is likely to undermine trust in the planning process and increase public opposition towards new development."
Notes to editors
The DCLG yesterday launched a consultation proposing that developers should have the option to ask councils to renegotiate Section 106 obligations agreed prior to April 2010. The department also announced that a team of brokers would offer free advice and support to councils and developers to help kickstart stalled developments.
Read the Department for Communities and Local Government press notice
Eric Pickles takes steps to kickstart stalled development
Relevant LGA links
Housing the Nation campaign
Author: LGA media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
31 August 2012