LONDON-The UK government has promised new regulation for the system of planning gain, which requires developers to contribute to public housing or transport schemes in return for planning permission for their own projects. It says the new regime will deliver more certainty for developers and more affordable homes for key workers

A consultation document on planning obligations, published yesterday by Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, aims to put an end to negotiated deals behind closed doors between developers and local authorities. This has been criticised by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an d in its place there will be an open ‘tariff’ that sets out clearly the contribution developers will be asked to make if planning permission is granted.

Stephen Byers said: ‘Developers buying a piece of land currently have little idea of what a local authority might demand in return for planning permission. Local authorities in turn sometimes don’t know what to ask for. It makes purchases very risky.

‘With these new proposals developers will know exactly what they will be required to pay before submitting a planning application, saving time and tortuous negotiations. Planning obligation negotiations are often slow and in private, leading to charges of impropriety, secrecy and a lack of public involvement’.

Tariffs will be determined at the local level and each local planning authority would be required to set out the details of the standard tariff and how it will be spent in its local development framework. This will open the way to require commercial developers to provide social housing as part of their development projects, a move long advocated by London mayor Ken Livingstone.

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