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Good news for small site developers

Rules stating that developers of 10 units or 100sqm or less are excluded from affordable housing and the vacant building credit have been bought back into force following a ruling by the Court of Appeal that they are lawful.

It is expected that the policy which was originally announced in 2014 will be reinserted into the National planning practice guidance following the Government’s successful appeal that the policy was unlawful.

The rules in question state:

  • Developments of 10 units or 1000 sq m or less (including annexes and extensions) are excluded from affordable housing levies and tariff based contributions;
  • A lower threshold applies in designated rural areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with developments of 5 units or less excluded from affordable housing levies and tariff based contributions. Development of between 6 and 10 units are subject to a commuted sum payable on or after completion;
  • Where a vacant building is brought back into use or demolished for redevelopment, local authorities will provide a “credit”, equivalent to the floorspace of the vacant building, to be set against affordable housing contributions.  This is particularly beneficial to brownfield sites.

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