Laura Sharman 04 August 2015

Councils win affordable housing court battle

Two councils have successfully challenged the government’s reforms to the planning system.

West Berkshire and Reading joined forces earlier this year to block plans allowing new developments under 10 homes to be exempt from Section 106 agreements.

The councils successfully argued the proposals would impact on the ability of authorities to ask developers to provide new affordable housing and infrastructure.

Alan Law, West Berkshire's executive member for planning said: ‘The judgement handed down today confirms that the council were fully justified in challenging this policy change in order to deliver much needed affordable housing and safeguard funding for critical infrastructure such as education.’

Cllr Tony Page, Reading's lead councillor for strategic environment, planning and transport, added the judgment would provide an estimated £650,000 per year for community facilities and services.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it would try to overturn the decision as the new legislation would tackle the costs and red tape that stop smaller developments from going ahead.

The Local Government Association has also warned that councils should be allowed to ask developers of smaller sites for a contribution towards affordable housing.

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