DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTIONS SPD: CONSULTATION RESPONSES
Responses Received From:
Highways Agency (HA); London & Henley Group (LH); Fairview New Homes Ltd (FNH); Sport England (SE); McCarthy & Stone (MS); Wycombe Wanderers FC
(WW); Sainsbury‟s Supermarkets Ltd (SS); Comland Commercial plc (CC); Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC); SEERA; Denis Wilson Partnership (DWP); Croudace Strategic Ltd (CS); Rectory Homes Ltd (RH); Frontier Estates (Stokenchurch) Ltd (FE); Hypnos Ltd (HY); Michael Shanley Homes (MSH); Tesco Stores Ltd (TS); Carey Group plc (CG); Waitrose Ltd (WA); St James Group Ltd (SJ); Gladedale Group Ltd (GG); Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (NR); Marlow Society(MS); Chiltern Society (ChS); Stupples & Co. (SC); David Wilson Estates (DWE); Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT); National Grid Property Co. Ltd.
SECTION COMMENT COUNCIL RESPONSE
GENERAL SPD should allow developers to accurately determine the likely Comments noted
COMMENTS contributions they will be asked to make (LH)
Overall a Developer Contributions SPD is welcomed as it provides
a guide for developers (DWE)
Welcome SPD and the approach proposed in Part 2 (SE)
SPD is in general conformity with adopted and emerging Regional
Spatial Strategy (SEERA)
SPD generally provides sufficiently clear guidance on what
developer contributions will be sought (BCC)
Very supportive of the SPD‟s transparent, prescriptive and
quantitative approach, which provides sufficient detail for
developers to assess the likely cost of bringing forward their
A clearly expressed and coherent document (ChS)
The document is too lengthy, repetitive and not user -friendly, The document will be edited with these comments in mind. particular for non-planners; it should include a concise introduction
of the obligation process and make clear that each proposal is
considered on its merits strictly in accordance with Circular 05/05
but the formula provides a guide (DWE)
All terms used for the calculations should be clearly defined
Lack of evidence of need for contributions in number of cases, This is addressed in responses to comments in relevant topic
and no cogent evidence demonstrating how contributions have sections, below.
been derived (RH).
In general it is considered that the document does not accord with Para. 5.2 of the consultation draft SPD makes clear that the
the advice set out in Circular 05/2005 (DWE). Council will have regard to Government policy and it is considered
that the SPD complies with relevant Government policy.. SPD constitutes exhaustive list of contributions for services and Contributions identified are commonly sought by local planning
infrastructure, many of which the Council should be providing authorities, as confirmed by the Audit Commission in „Securing through local and general taxation (CG) (WA) (SJ). Community Benefits Through the Planning Process‟ (Aug. 2006).
Circular 5/05 allows Councils to seek contributions in this manner
(see para B21)
In relation to major applications, the document should make clear This is generally set out in topic sections of the SPD but will be
which facilities are required on site and when a contribution to off- made more explicit in the final document. site provision would be appropriate (DWE).
Topic needs a debate with the development industry and a forum Developers have been invited to contribute to development of the
should be arranged (SC) SPD, and forums have been arranged.
EXECUTIVE Para S5 of the SPD states that the Council will seek to This is accepted and SPD will be amended (see also comments
SUMMARY ensure that where off site provision of a facility is relating to para. 5.4)
required there is a functional or geographical
relationship; however this is a mandatory requirement
(Circ 05/05); if there is no direct link no contribution
should be sought (DWE).
Insert after first sentence of para S7: "where a development will in This is not considered appropriate in this paragraph. Flexibility in
itself provide beneficial recreational and community facilities, the contributions sought is described elsewhere in the document, eg
Council will adopt a more flexible approach to developer para 2.4
It would be useful to provide an explanation of the origin of figures A note will be added to table referring to source of information in
in Table 2 (HY). the SPD
PART 1: A CONTEXT FOR DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTIONS
1 - What Do We Mean Object to inference in para 1.1 that contributions are to address an This is not the intention of para 1.1. The Council‟s approach to By ‘Developer historic shortfall in infrastructure provision, contrary to advice in developer contributions is set out in paras. 5.1 to 5.2, in which it is Contributions’? Circular 05/05; paragraph should be amended to make clear that made clear that the Council will have regard to relevant
contribution relates to impact of development on infrastructure in Government guidance.
the immediate vicinity of site (CC).
2 - Status And Seems premature to proceed with SPD: It is not accepted that SPD is premature. It provides guidance on Purpose Of Document - in advance new Government guidance and possible implementation of policies of the statutory Local Plan; additional
introduction of a planning gain supplement (CC): guidance on implementation of new policies contained in the draft
- particularly in respect of affordable housing (MS); Core Strategy will only be implemented once that plan is adopted,
- it would benefit from being redrafted and most importantly as stated in para 2.1 of the consultation draft SPD. To delay SPD
subjected to further consultation once central government for further Government guidance would not meet Circ. 05/05
policy is adopted and published (MS); which encourages local authorities to include as much information
- in advance of the formal adoption of the Core Strategy (CG) as possible in LDF documents to allow developers to predict as
(WA) (SJ); accurately as possible the likely contributions they will be asked to
- inappropriate to apply tariffs before Government policy on make (Circ 05/05, para B25)
Planning Gain Supplement has been clarified (CG) (WA)
Para. 2.2 indicates that "wherever possible" SPD sets out It is appropriate for the Council to indicate what it will seek
guidance on likely level of contributions; if Council do not have the contributions for, but it is for the LPA to decide which matters to
necessary information to provide such formula then SPD should address through standard charges and formulae (Circ 05/05, para
not be adopted (CC). B34)
Box 1:The higher affordable housing threshold for greenfield sites This relates to Core Strategy policy.
would undermine deliverability and viability and should be
replaced by a district wide maximum of 30% (CS)
3 - How The Document Difficult to improve presentation of SPD without compromising the Comments noted Is Structured need for a sufficiently detailed document setting out the specific
requirements for developer contributions (HY) (BCC)
The language is clear and easily understandable, and commend
those who prepared it (HY).
Helpful if an Executive Summary or companion explanatory leaflet The Council intends to publish an explanatory leaflet when SPD is
could accompany the SPD (BCC) adopted
PART 2: GENERAL APPROACH TO DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTIONS
5 - The Council’s Overall approach (para. 5.1) is supported (CC) Comments noted
Strategy Policy of publicising what contributions will be sought and
quantifying them as far as possible is right approach (BCC)
Supportive of the approach taken; the more transparency a Local
Planning Authority can bring to financial contributions the better,
particularly from the point of view of a developer assessing the
viability of a future development (HY).
Obligations must accord with the Government's guidance (LH) Paras. 5.1 to 5.2 make clear that the Council will have regard to
(FNH) (SS) relevant Government guidance. Supports approach for requiring planning obligations to be Comments noted underpinned by guidance in Circular 5/05 (LH).
In general terms the document appears to follow Circular 05/05
and the formulae for determining contributions appropriate, fair
and reasonable (BCC)
The rigidity of the proposed SPD and its formulaic approach is Local authorities are encouraged in Government guidance (see considered to conflict with the principles expressed in existing and para B33 of Circ 5/05) to employ formulae and standard charges emerging Government guidance (CG) (WA) (SJ). where appropriate. Para 2.4 indicates that they will be applied
flexibly, and it will be appropriate to amend Section 5 to
emphasise this point. Object to the inclusion of requirements which are not necessary to Paras. 5.1 to 5.2 make clear that the Council will have regard to
make the development acceptable in planning terms and which relevant Government guidance. Issues regarding specific
are not `so directly relevant to proposed developments that the requirements are addressed in responses to comments in relevant development ought not to be permitted without them' (Circular topic sections, below. 05/05 B8) (FNH).
Circular 05/05 (paragraph B9) is clear that developers should not This is an incorrect interpretation of the Council‟s approach, which be made responsible to rectify existing deficiencies and reference is to mitigate the impact of new development where infrastructure
to this should be deleted from para 5.1(CG) (WA) (SJ). is already overstretched or at capacity Council should not `seek to ensure' (paragraph 5.4) but satisfy all This is accepted and SPD will be amended. parties that where off-site provision of a facility is required there is
a functional or geographic relationship with the development
proposed, otherwise seeking such off-site provision would not
comply with the Circular (RH).
Areas for which we are seeking developer contributions are Comments noted appropriate (BCC)
Contributions should be sought for green infrastructure in order to „Biodiversity‟ will be referred to in SPD by including it as a specific establish and maintain a network for biodiversity and human example in para 5.1 and amending text of „Open Space‟ section
wellbeing in accordance with PPS9 and Core Strategy Policy 19.
They could be used for off-site habitat creation and management,
and provision of evidence base and expertise (ChS).
With the exception of the requirement for affordable housing Comments noted – affordable housing issue is dealt with in provision from major new industrial and commercial development, Section 10 responses the remaining obligations are generally appropriate (HY).
Classifications of 'type of development' listed in Table 5.1 are too Retail development will be specifically identified in a revision to broad and do not provide clarity as to what types of contributions Table 5.1 will be sought, in particular, in connection with retail development
proposals. Some contributions identified, e.g. affordable housing,
would appear to be unrelated to retail development. (SS) (LH).
Contributions sought from commercial and industrial It is not considered that the impacts are sufficiently different to developments need to be separated as the impact will differ (LH). justify separate consideration. SPD is not sufficiently clear in justifying why the Council is Issues regarding specific requirements are addressed in seeking developer contributions in regards to particular areas, eg responses to comments in relevant topic sections, below.
retail development, that have no apparent links to the proposed
Generally, the thresholds for contributions are at a level which Comments noted accords with government guidance (HY)
Thresholds strike an appropriate balance between a fair and
equitable system of contributions, and imposition of
disproportionate costs in dealing with small applications with
relatively small value of planning obligations associated to them
There appears to be no explanation/justification for the Para. 5.7 of the consultation draft SPD explains that the thresholds identified (DWE). thresholds have been adopted in order to strike an appropriate
balance between a fair and equitable system of contributions, and
imposition of disproportionate costs in dealing with small
applications. Concerns relating to the threshold level set for affordable housing This comment relates to Core Strategy policy
provision in rural areas (HY)
Thresholds and the areas for which the Council would seek The Council believes the thresholds strike an appropriate balance contributions needs to be more flexible and reliant on genuine between a fair and equitable system of contributions, and impacts the development will have on the community (LH). imposition of disproportionate costs in dealing with small
applications with relatively small value of planning obligations Whilst the setting out of Planning Obligations in a standard associated to them. manner can assist in bringing certainty and clarity to negotiated
agreements, the thresholds must reflect actual related impacts of
a development proposal which can be applied on an individual site
by site basis but not as a general rule (CG) (WA) (SJ)
In general, supportive of the formulae set out in the SPD, and Comments noted consider them to be appropriate, fair and reasonable (HY).
Whilst some tariffs are appropriate, the impact of a development This is the Council‟s intention and will be made more explicit in the
needs to be considered on its own merits; development costs or final document by relocating para. 2.4 of the draft SPD to this facilities provided as part of a development which have benefits section. beyond it should be taken in to account (contributions should be
reduced accordingly in relation to the facility provided) (DWE).
Council should make provisions for new development which in Circ 5/05 indicates that it is for local authorities to decide on the itself provides beneficial recreational and community facilities, and balance of contributions between developers and the public sector adopt a more flexible approach to developer contributions (WW). (para B10). The flexibility sought is acknowleged in para 2.4 of the
draft SPD SPD needs to place greater emphasis on "where appropriate" as it Para 2.4 indicates that formulae will be applied flexibly, and para
fails to acknowledge that planning obligations are unlikely to be 5.6 states that contributions towards particular services may not required for all developments (LH). be sought from certain types of development or in particular
locations where such services are not required. It needs to be more clearly stated that the impact of each
development is considered on its own merits and that whilst the
formulae provide a detailed guide for off site contributions the
exact contributions will be negotiated as part of the planning
process and should take account of other factors (DWE).
On certain sites local circumstances justify that a contribution
varies from the specified amount and this flexibility should be
stated within the document (FE)
Whilst in part the SPD is welcomed it needs to ensure that
developers are given more flexibility to ensure that the
contributions sought actually contribute to needs arising from the
development and meet the tests set out in government guidance
SPD is unreasonable and unduly inflexible as it does not facilitate A cross-reference to para 8.7 will be inserted into Section 6.
an 'open book' approach in specific circumstances to justify a
shortfall in the overall financial contributions that could be secured
(although para 8.7 refers to these circumstances later on, it is
considered that this needs to be highlighted earlier in the
document (CG) (WA) (SJ)
SPD should recognise that where a site benefits from planning Decisions will be made under current policy at time of decision, permission (where contributions were not provided), contributions but consultation draft SDP (para.8.7) indicates that there is
will be `discounted' to reflect the effective pressure exerted by that flexibility if a strong case can be made on viability.
permission. This consistent with Table 2 which makes it clear
contributions will only be sought from the `net additional' number
of dwellings proposed (RH).
SPD fails to acknowledge that redevelopment of an existing site Table 2 of the draft SDP notes that contributions are based on net will have a different impact to a development which creates new additions and this will be made explicit in other relevant tables.
or additional floorspace (LH).
Needs to be greater emphasis of possible financial problems if A cross-reference to para 8.7, which deals with viability issues, will contributions need to be made to all areas specified (LH). be inserted into Section 6.
Support pooling of contributions (para. 5.5) to meet cumulative Comments noted impact (CC)
The principle of pooling funds and assessing cumulative impact is Para. 5.4 of the draft SPD refers to a geographical or functional welcomed provided that physical proximity to the infrastructure relationship with the proposed development. concerned is not the sole criterion to decide which applications are
expected to contribute (NR).
Paragraph 5.5 - should be expanded upon and clarify that any This is the Council‟s intention and will be clarified in the final pooled funds will be subject to an identified capital programme or document project, and if any pooled monies are not utilised within a
reasonable timescale, e.g. 5 years, then the developer will be
entitled to a rebate with interest paid (CG) (WA) (SJ).
It would be unreasonable to take the view that adjoining land in a The paragraph makes clear that this applies where proposals may different ownership should form part of the site (para 5.8) (CC) fall artificially below thresholds to avoid contributions.
BCC is to explore methodologies for calculating developer Comments noted contributions towards further County Council services, including
Waste Management/Disposal, Adult Social Care and Green
Infrastructure and would present details for consideration as part
of any future review of SPD (BCC).
6 - How Much Will We Support principle of monitoring/administration charge, but there It is now proposed to levy a standard charge on agreements.
Seek? are issues which are not clear and need addressing:
Is the value of land included?
At what point is value established?
Who collects the charge in respect of tripartite agreements?
When is the charge payable? (BCC)
Welcome the administrative charge of 2% (SE). Comments noted Objections to charge for the administration of monitoring: It is now proposed to levy a standard charge on agreements, in
- It is a normal administrative function which should be common with many local authorities, and this will be reflected in
undertaken by the Council. (CC) the revised SPD. Monitoring is regarded as conducive to the - There should either be a flat rate fee or a maximum performance of dealing with planning matters and comes within
threshold. (CC) the remit of Section 303 of the Local Government Act as amended
- Needs to be linked to a costed and publicly available strategy by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
for monitoring of agreements (CC)
- There is no evidence or justification for its imposition (RH)
- They are beyond the scope of developer contributions and
should be deleted; monitoring does not place any additional
burden on the Local Authority which should be paid for by
the developer (DWE).
- Paragraph 6.4 states that charges will `enable the negotiation
and completion of legal agreements associated with planning
applications to be carried out effectively' although legal costs
associated with the preparation of an obligation appear to be
separate from the 2% charge (RH).
- Although there is justification for an administration charge
based on a sliding scale, the stated fee is considered likely to
be far out of scale with the actual costs of monitoring the
agreements. It cannot therefore be considered to be
'reasonable' or even 'directly related to the proposed
- A fairer method of charging may be to link the charge to a
proportion of the application fee (TS) (HY). - Will result in significant fees being obtained by the Council
highly in excess of that which is required to monitor the use of
the monies (MSH)
- It is not appropriate or justified that this additional cost should
be borne by the developer (TS).
- The method of charging proposed unnecessarily penalises
those developers making the largest contributions (TS) - The method of charging results in a sum which is
disproportionate to the work involved in obligation monitoring
- There is no legal basis for requiring such a contribution from
developers and it is unclear how any such monitoring
contributions would be managed and used (CG) (WA) (SJ) - Asking developers to pay to monitor the expenditure of
contributions would go beyond what is reasonable in the
context of developer contributions. As with discharging
planning conditions and their ongoing monitoring, this is a
cost borne by the Council and is already paid for through
planning application fees and the planning delivery grant.
Figure 1 suggests that if implemented, PDG would increase
and to request a 2% contribution on top of this would be
There is no objection in principle to paying legal costs; however, Council has standard agreements on most areas that necessitate
where pre-application discussions have taken place and level of a legal agreement and these are available on request. The
contribution agreed it should be acceptable for the applicant to Council has measures in place to deal with agreements
submit a Unilateral Undertaking, or a draft agreement should be expeditiously. Should developers choose to submit a Unilateral
available to be filled in by applicants to save Council time (MSH). Undertaking (UU), then to avoid delays they should provide the
relevant costs and proof of title as early in the process as possible Although it is generally appropriate for developers to pay
and be clear that a UU cannot impose obligations on the Council. reasonable legal costs there are other means that could simplify
However, there are some issues that the Council considers cannot the process, for example, preparing a 'standard template' for be dealt with by a UU; these will not be accepted and may well Section 106 Agreements / Unilateral Undertakings (CG) (WA)
(SJ). lead to refusal of an application. Supportive of flexible approach for index-linking financial Comment noted. contributions, allowing for 'the most appropriate' index to be
utilised, depending on the circumstances (HY)
It is common practice to use Retail Price Index index-linking Comment noted. financial contributions (DWE).
7 - Maintenance Circular 05/05 (Paragraph B18) makes no reference to Para 7.1 will be amended to reflect Circular guidance. Payments neighbouring residents and this should be deleted from para. 7.1.
Therefore, unless it can be demonstrated that open space,
recreational facilities, children's play space, woodland or
landscaping would be predominantly for the benefit of users of the
development, no maintenance payment should be provided (RH)
Paragraph 7.2 should refer exclusively to maintenance It is considered that this level of detail is more appropriate to para payments for highway matters and be expanded to reflect 11.13 of the draft SPD, which will be amended accordingly.
that for s278 agreements the County Council will seek
commuted sums for infrastructure costs associated with
future maintenance of traffic signal installations, street
lighting and additional areas of construction (also applied to
para 11.13) . Other forms of maintenance should form part of
an additional paragraph (BCC).
The County Council will also seek commuted payments for
new adopted residential streets, following the grant of planning
consent, to cover the future maintenance and replacement
costs of various items for those streets under s38 of the
Highways Act 1980 (as amended) (BCC).
Where a facility is to be used by the wider public, the costs of Para 7.2 makes clear that maintenance payments for highway maintenance should be borne by the relevant authority (Circ. works will only be sought in accordance with a S278 agreement.
05/05). Section 278 of the Highways Act specifically raises the The Council generally seeks an initial maintenance contribution question, are the works proposed for the public benefit? By but takes on responsibility in perpetuity. entering into the agreement the Council accept that consequently
there can be no requirement for ongoing maintenance (WA) (SJ).
8 - How Contributions Support para. 8.2 in respect of pre-application negotiations; The final version of the SPD will make clear that the proposed
Will Be Negotiated however this will need to be supplemented with a performance administrative charge will be used to fund an enhanced service
More importance needs to be placed an early negotiations at a These points are already addressed in the consultation draft SPD,
pre-application stage to determine what is appropriate from the particularly at paras 8.2, 8.7 and 2.4 scheme and the Council should take account of the impact that
such contributions will have on the viability of the proposal. The
formulae should be applied more flexibly and it should be used to
derive a maximum contribution amount with the final figure being
dependant on the size, scale and location of the development