Relaxation of section 106 planning obligations will free up smaller development sites

Ross Thomson, Associate Director of Meeson Williams Phillips

Ross Thomson, Associate Director of Meeson Williams Phillips - Credit: Archant

The land development and planning team at Oxford-based Meeson Williams Phillips has welcomed the Government’s recent relaxation of Section 106 planning obligations which should provide a fresh incentive to builders and developers, particularly those with an eye on smaller urban plots.

The new thresholds for affordable housing and tariff style contributions are likely to stimulate small scale developments in Oxford as well as the market towns which have all but ground to a halt in recent years.

Ross Thomson, Associate Director in the Land Development and Planning team at Meeson Williams Phillips who has extensive land acquisition, development and planning experience, said: “The relaxation of the rules will benefit house builders, particularly those at the smaller end of the spectrum, who may be looking to build between one and 10 units. New builds of this kind have all but dried up in Oxford and other urban areas as up until very recently, the affordable housing requirements made these schemes unviable. We know the demand for new housing is strong, so hopefully we’ll see a renewed appetite from developers to start building again on small, brownfield sites.”

As a result of the changes, Section 106 planning obligations will no longer be sought for developments of 10 units or fewer (including self builds) which have a maximum combined gross floor space of no more than 1,000 sq metres; developments of five units or fewer in rural areas, but only where the local planning authority chooses to implement the lower threshold (no maximum floor space limits apply) or any development consisting only of the construction of a residential annex or extension to an existing home.