Government turns to intermediaries for New Build help
Pickles is concerned that too much development is being stalled because of economically unrealistic agreements negotiated between councils and developers at the height of the housing boom. This results in no development, no regeneration and no community benefits at all when agreements are no longer economically viable.
The deals, known legally as Section 106 agreements, require developers to make a financial contribution to the community or provide housing, amenities or infrastructure as part of their planning permission.
Teams of intermediaries will now offer a free-of-charge advice and support service to councils and developers and will be available to help kick-start renegotiations of these deals to stop them being a barrier to getting building underway.
Brokers will begin work immediately with an initial wave of councils that are keen to address obstacles that are preventing development in their area before working with other councils around the country. The experts will provide technical expertise to unlock negotiations; act as go-betweens in disputes and offer access to a range of support services.
Pickles said: “Tackling problems with stalled development is essential to getting builders back on moth-balled sites and building the homes we need. There is huge potential in sites to boost local economies and we simply cannot afford to have them lying idle because of earlier agreements that are no longer viable.
“The support and advice the expert brokers will offer is one of the many measures we have introduced to get development underway and I hope councils grab this chance to make use of the support we are offering.
“Our reforms to the planning system are already cutting planning red tape and making the system simpler and more accessible to communities and businesses. And further changes we’re introducing will simplify national planning policy even more and streamline the planning application process.”
Councils in Leeds, Ipswich, Corby, Swindon, Ashford, Gloucester, Kirklees, Carlisle, Northumberland and Durham will the first to benefit from the support offered by the expert brokers and will identify key stalled sites they want to see back up and running.
The support and advice being offered to councils is just one of a number of measures the Government is taking to help boost development. The £570 million Get Britain Building fund is tackling the housing shortage and creating jobs and the £770 million Growing Places Fund is providing local areas with flexible funding to get the infrastructure built needed to build new homes.