Brokenshire issues warning to developers avoiding planning obligations

2 Jul 18

Housing developers must be held to account if they fail to deliver promised community benefits, James Brokenshire has said.

In his first major speech as housing, communities and local government secretary today, Brokenshire said communities felt let down when developers reneged on pledges to build essential local infrastructure or affordable housing.

“We’re addressing these issues head on through our consultation into reforming developer contributions,” he said in his speech to think-tank Policy Exchange.

“These will ensure that developers are left in no doubt about what’s expected of them. Local authorities will hold them to account.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ran a consultation from March to May this year to look at proposed reforms of the existing system of developer contributions.

Councils mainly receive these contributions through the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 planning obligations.  

The government is currently considering the consultation results.

Brokenshire added that, in future, government would require much more transparency from developers on the pace and timing of delivery. “We’re currently looking at measures to make this reporting a compulsory requirement.”

The secretary of state also announced that government funding would not be available for the construction of “unjustified” leasehold houses, piling extra costs on overstretched buyers.

Changes will also be made to ensure that ground rents on new long leases for houses and flats will be set to zero.

“Abusive practices in the leasehold market – unexpected costs that rise every year and bear no relation to services – can turn a homeowner’s dream into a nightmare,” he said.

“Unjust and unfair leasehold terms also risk making relatively new houses unattractive to buyers.

“Enough is enough.”

Another announcement made in the speech included a consultation, launched today, on introducing three-year tenancy agreements in the private sector, with a six-month break clause for both tenants and landlords.

Brokenshire also announced the launch of a £100m Community Development Fund, run by Homes England, which will allow communities to steer development of homes that are matched to local needs and cannot be delivered by the mainstream market.

“This long-awaited measure has the potential to unlock 2,000 new homes that are genuinely tailored to local needs – and affordable in perpetuity,” Brokenshire said.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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