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Reading and West Berkshire affordable housing ruling overturned on appeal

A legal ruling against government proposals to exempt small developments from affordable housing rules has been overturned on appeal.

A Court of Appeal ruling yesterday upheld the government decision to exempt developments of 10 houses or fewer from section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which enables local planning authorities to seek contributions from developers to provide affordable housing and mitigate the impact of developments.

Another court ruled in favour of a joint legal challenge to the decision from Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire Council last July.

Speaking after yesterday’s ruling Brandon Lewis MP, housing and planning minister, said: “Today’s judgment by the Court of Appeal restores common sense to the system, and ensures that those builders developing smaller sites – including self-builders - don’t face costs that could stop them from building any homes at all.

“This case was a total waste of taxpayers’ money and the uncertainty the case created amongst housebuilders stalled new development from coming through.

“I hope councils focus their time and money on delivering the front line service that their residents rely on and helping support new housebuilding in their areas that is very much needed.”

In a joint statement, the councils said: “West Berkshire and Reading Councils are naturally disappointed by this result.  We are reviewing this verdict and currently considering our options as a matter of priority with regard to appeal. Until such time as we have determined how we intend to proceed, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Councils have also warned that the government’s current Starter Homes initiative will fail to address the need for affordable housing.

The Housing and Planning Bill is currently going through the House of Commons again after extensive debate in the House of Lords.

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Evan Owen   12/05/2016 at 13:24

What a waste of time and taxpayer money.

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