Affordable Housing

MQT on 2002-11-20
Session date: 
November 20, 2002
Question By: 
Mike Tuffrey
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's recent report `Planning Gain and Affordable Housing" states that local authorities" ability to secure affordable housing via Section 106 agreements is `limited by site complexity, competing planning obligation requirements, inadequate negotiating capacity and processes, and lack of clarity in the policy'. How are you working with local authorities to overcome these barriers?



Answer for Affordable Housing

Answer for Affordable Housing

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I would endorse these conclusions. The draft London Plan and the accompanying Supplementary Planning Guidance on planning obligations we propose to draft will seek to introduce certainty, consistency and speed in negotiating and concluding agreements. The Government recognises current guidance is inadequate and my officers are working closely with ODPM officials on assisting the drafting of a revised circular on planning obligations (currently circular 1/97) for publication in January 2003. This will take into account the recommendations of the report on planning obligations by Professor Rob Lane, which we published in June as SDS technical report 7.We are already working with an ALG practitioners working group to develop best practice on s106 agreements in London. You will also be aware of the work we have commissioned from the Three Dragons and Nottingham Trent University to develop the economic viability model for affordable housing provision into a development control tool. This work has been jointly funded by the Housing Corporation and is being supported by a reference group of borough planning officers. This will provide boroughs with a tool to directly help them unravel some of the complexities and test some of the assumptions.I recognise that many boroughs do not have adequate staff resources and skills to negotiate a large number of complex agreements, though experience in London is probably greater than in other parts of the country. In addition to support that the GLA can give boroughs through my Planning Decisions Unit and their experience of negotiating complex s106 agreements, a significant element of the £350m planning development grant (to be made available by Government to increase local authority planning resources) will need to be focused on this critical issue. .