Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

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Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

1. Introduction

Representation ID: 8430

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

1.3.4 - The document fails to address the relationship of developer contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and request that greater clarity is given on the Council’s approach concerning CIL and whether this will be introduced.

We suggest that as the Developer Contributions SPD is subject to public consultation there is an opportunity to include formulaic calculations.

In its current form, the Developer Contributions SPD presents possible future inconsistency, which takes away a degree of certainty.

1.3.5 - Where this complies with the fairness requirements stated at Paragraph 1.3.3 and we recommend that a reference or definition should be provided within the text for the need to ensure pooling contributions is fair.

1.9.2 - NHDC should be the central body charged with administering S106 monies to third parties and should be responsible for ensuring compliance with S106 clauses stating when and how the funds will be used by and secure for their return, after an agreed period of time,
where they are not (in accordance with Planning Policy Guidance Planning Obligations, Paragraph 021).

There is no reference in the document to the requirement for parties to payback unspent planning obligations (Planning Policy Guidance: Planning Obligations, Paragraph 021).

Furthermore, we would expect that the Heritage Foundation to be one of the organisations who could be a party to S106.

1.10.1 - We request that there should be greater clarity when the Infrastructure Development Plan will be updated, with a timetable.

1.11.2 - The text is misleading and requires better explanation. It is essential that there is clarity for planning obligations on strategic sites, such as LG1, without this these sites will be delayed or not come forward.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

2. Process, Procedure & Management

Representation ID: 8450

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

2.1.2 - Where obligations are discussed, these should be based on a clear policy basis and binding officer advice. This requires a transparent approach to development contributions so all parties can calculate obligations at an early stage and successfully progress development viability thereafter.

2.1.3 - The LPA’s responsibility for securing early third-party involvement should be confirmed within the Developer Contributions SPD’s text, along with clarity on fees. We are of the view that the LPA should take a proactive management role in S106 discussions with these third parties beyond the role as suggested at Paragraph 2.2.3, to help co-ordinate an effective pre-application response.

2.1.4 - Providing a draft viability appraisal may not always be possible at pre-application stage.

2.2.1 - Requirement for clarity and formulaic approach re-iterated.

2.2.2: It may be beneficial for a dedicated Planning Obligations Officer (who has an in depth working knowledge of a proposal) to progress Section 106 contribution requirements.

In the bullet points in this paragraph, it is essential that there is reference to the need to ensure that development remains viable and deliverable.

2.2.3 - See 2.1.3

2.2.4 - The wording of this paragraph is misleading. Where a Section 106 agreement cannot be agreed by all parties and an applicant feels they have a justified case, they should be able to put their application before Committee with a unilateral undertaking in place. Re-iterates formulaic approach to reduce disagreements.

2.2.5 - In cases where these parties make unreasonable requests that effectively prevent development coming forward, the LPA must intervene to ensure that this circumstance is prevented. There should also be service level agreements in place to ensure that third parties act in an appropriate manner.

2.2.6 - Support the provision of Section 106 and Unilateral Undertaking templates, which should be incorporated as an Annex to the Developer Contributions SPD, this may include some example agreements to assist applicants.

2.3.1 - Timing and localised factors (such as proven local housing need, local circumstances) should also inform proposals and thus influence land value. All of these factors are variable and thus have the potential to influence viability. The SPD should promote proactive officer engagement with applicants over issues of viability.

2.4.1 - A viability review mechanism could be an important tool in progressing developments, however it must be capable of being applied promptly to changing external influences, for example market conditions.

2.4.3 - The methodology and triggers for viability review should be clearly defined as a minimum within the Section 106 agreement, but ideally within an annex to the Developer Contributions SPD to ensure it can be applied accurately, reasonably and fairly.

2.5.3 - Policy requirements must be the
principal determinant of developer contributions. All potential funding sources and funding application should be investigated at application stage and agreements reached at this time.

2.7.2 - Whilst monitoring costs will be influenced by the complexity of an agreement/development, monitoring costs should be undertaken at a published standardised
hourly rate, to ensure fairness.

2.7.5 - The report to the Area Committee should include where and when contributions have been spent and unspent contributions.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

3. Economy and Town Centres

Representation ID: 8451

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

3.3.1 - the Section 106 requirements associated with town centre development should be lesser than those in out of town locations, in order to support town centres.

3.3.3 - Any contributions should directly, fairly and reasonably relate to the scale of the development proposed.

3.3.4 - The completion of works on land outside the applicant’s control may not be feasible. Therefore, unless an agreement is in place with the relevant third party, such a requirement would be unreasonable.

3.3.5 - The text should refer to Paragraphs 1.3.2 and 1.3.3 for clarity.

3.3.6 - Where such contributions are required these should be applied in a transparent and consistent manner, ideally based on reporting of previous contributions.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

4. Transport

Representation ID: 8452

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

4.2.1 - It is of importance that the LPA ensure that these matters are dealt with expeditiously and that requests made by HCC are reasonable and do not impact on viability/deliverability of development.

4.2.6 - Reference should be made to the engagement of all parties, both at pre-application and early on in application progression to provide clarity and progress delivery. Furthermore, recognition of costs incurred in meeting these requirements should also be recognised when considering the package of contributions and the impact on scheme viability.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

5. Housing

Representation ID: 8453

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

5.2.22 - Details of how the commuted sum will be calculated should be provided: at the present time it is unclear and could be open to inconsistency.

5.2.25 & 26 - It is unclear why the basis for commuted sum payment is based solely on a 2-bedroom house. Further calculations based on smaller and larger homes should also be provided for transparency and factors possibly influencing this, such as labour and material costs, identified.

5.2.30 - The costs related to such provision may be higher and have a negative impact on scheme viability and it should be recognised that this may lead to a reduction in the overall provision of affordable housing sought.

5.2.33 - Where an identified need exists within a location specific enough to warrant affordable housing requirements, the commuted sums should be utilised in that area to the benefit of those in need.

5.2.35 - The wording of the text creates ambiguity and clarification is needed. We are concerned that this text does not support the provision of socially rented accommodation for smaller accommodation, which the Council’s evidence shows has a particularly high need. It is our view that socially rented accommodation should be promoted and provided if scheme viability allows.

5.2.42 - Were the LPA confident in NPPF’s definitions they should replicate them within the text for ease of reference. This should also reflect amendments to the Local Plan, where there is recognition of Community Land Trust and other community and co-operative providers, which are playing a greater role in affordable housing delivery.

5.2.46 - This should include the Letchworth Garden City Housing Needs Survey published last year, which was formulated in partnership with NHDC (Planning & Housing), as well as the main affordable housing providers. It is essential that these studies are of material importance, so that the affordable housing provision reflects local need, as well as District wide requirements.

5.2.54 - SHMAs are reviewed regularly and thus to refer to the current version will cause confusion at later date. Also see 5.2.46.

5.2.55 - Should only remain if it is based on an established, long-term trend for the area. To refer to current circumstances may cause confusion at a later date. The text should only be included if it is reflective of a long-term trend in the area.

5.2.58 - The dispersal affordable housing into small clusters is supported in principle, as well as pepper potting, albeit dependent on the management practices of the registered provider.

5.2.60 - The text is misleading. Policy HS5 states that at least 50% of homes can be built to the M4 (2) Accessible and Adaptable standard and, on schemes where 10 or more affordable units will be delivered, 10% of these can additionally be built to the M4 (3) wheelchair user standard, i.e. 50% of homes will be accessible and adaptable and there is no differentiation between market and affordable housing. The supporting text to the policy states “The highest M4(3) standard should only be applied to homes where the District Council will be responsible for allocating or nominating a person to live in that dwelling”, i.e. most likely to be affordable homes. Albeit the text goes onto state “A modest proportion of affordable homes will be required to adhere to this additional standard.” We also believe that M4 (2 & 3) accommodation should be provided across tenures.

5.2.64 - The provision of affordable units should be maintained as a proportion of total housing delivery. To dictate a minimum affordable housing requirement at the outset can have a negative impact on scheme viability, ignores site conditions identified post Local Plan adoption
and any other community benefits a scheme may deliver. We therefore question the validity of this paragraph.

5.2.71 - we are of the strong view that land held by the Heritage Foundation as a community benefit society, the Council should apply nomination rights for Letchworth residents or people with a close connection. The Heritage Foundation is bringing forward a range of housing sites and the relevant 1995 Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation Act requires us to work for the benefit of the communities of Letchworth Garden City. This is reflected in our charitable commitments. We submit that these unique circumstances should be considered in the arrangements included in Section 106 agreements on our freehold.

5.3.1 - Mechanisms should also be in place to prevent these plots to be sold for speculative
development. Further mechanisms should prioritise marketing to local people.

5.3.8 - Question the need to restrict palette choice as this may restrict innovation.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

6. Design

Representation ID: 8454

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

6.3.1 - The Council should place a requirement in Section 106 that materials should be sourced from sustainable sources.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

7. Healthy Communities

Representation ID: 8455

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

7.1.3 - Include North Herts College as key stakeholder. The LPA should also work with the applicant to determine the key additional stakeholders or produce an updated list of those who may be contacted to provide certainty and direction.

7.1.5 - It is greatly disappointing that there is no provision to require developers to contribute to training and apprenticeship programmes. This is a standard approach for many authorities, particularly in London, and this can make a significant contribution to local people. North Herts College can be the lead provider in these programmes funded by S106 contributions, but this can be supplemented by developer and contractor in house schemes. The current text places a reliance on Youth Connections, should in the future this no longer exist, an alternative mechanism should be in place.

7.4.2 - The Clinical Commission Group’s requirements will be reviewed regularly and thus to refer to the current edition will cause confusion at later date. The associated commentary may also not be relevant in the future.

7.4.3 - Object to the use of developer contributions to fund record digitisation. To insist upon contributions for this purpose would be contrary to the established legal requirements for payments and thus must not be pursued.

7.4.4 - Evidence of the expenditure of any health contributions should be provided to an applicant for the purposes of transparency and accountability.

7.6.1 to 4 - reference should be made to the legal validity of developer contribution requirements to ensure that requests relate appropriately to the associated
development.

7.8.4 - The Heritage Foundation would not support the freehold transfer of community buildings on its development site. This is not justified in planning policy terms and is contrary to the rules of the Foundation regarding the integrity of the Estate.

This is also not necessary to ensure the long-term use of community facilities and fails to recognise the role of other providers, such as local community groups and Community Land Trusts.

As such, we object to this requirement.

7.9.7 & 7.9.8 - It is not the role of the planning system to secure policing numbers.

7.10.2 - Should be all new major development.

Object

Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document

8. Natural Environment

Representation ID: 8456

Received: 24/03/2020

Respondent: Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

Agent: Planning Matters

Representation:

8.2.1 & 2 - Clarity should be provided as to which requirements can be dealt with by way of condition and by legal obligation.

8.4.2 - A clearer commitment is needed with regards the standards review.

8.4.12 - The provision of strategic open space should attract contributions from projects across the area as it will be accessible to all.

8.4.18 & 19 - Examples of exemption cases should be provided.

8.4.20 - 24 - Clarification should be provided as to the role Section 106 agreements can play in securing aspirations.

8.10.1 - Any LPA requirements must reasonably relate to a proposal to secure legal compliance.

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