Last week the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s July 2015 decision quashing the government’s policy of exempting small housing sites (up to 10 units or 1000 sq metres) from affordable housing requirements.
Reading and West Berkshire Councils had previously successfully challenged the policy which had originally been announced by way of Ministerial Statement in November 2014.
It remains to be seen whether the case will go onwards to the Supreme Court. If a further appeal is brought there is a risk that applications for planning permission for smaller sites will remain undetermined by planning authorities until the Supreme Court rules on the case, in the hope that the Supreme Court defeats the policy once again.
Developers who have agreed to affordable housing contributions for small sites will need to review their planning obligations and consider the scope for review of the commitments made.
It should be noted that in parallel with its fight through the Courts, the government has in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 given itself the power to restore the exemption through secondary legislation even if the Supreme Court overturns the policy again, with only limited protection for affordable housing provision in rural areas.
For more information about the issues in this article or to find out more about how the property - development team can help you please contact Derek Ching on 0118 952 7246 or email [email protected].
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