Court upholds Government Decision

Yesterday the Court of Appeal upheld the Government proposal to exempt small development sites from affordable housing contributions. This will apply to developments of 10 dwellings or fewer, or 1,000 square metres or less. In designated rural areas, including National Parks and AONBs the threshold is reduced to 5 dwellings.

This is a major step forward for our clients with smaller development sites.

Richard Mowat, Partner commented “In certain areas this exemption will increase the number of viable options available, potentially revive stalled projects and should contribute to an increase in the housing land supply moving forward. This is a positive in the context of the current national imperative to boost the supply of housing.”

Harrogate Borough Council for example has an affordable housing policy which expects all housing sites outside of Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough to deliver or contribute to affordable housing provisions on sites of 3 dwellings or more.

A further appeal to the Supreme Court is possible should West Berkshire and Reading Councils, who challenged the Government on this matter, have the appetite. However, in the interim, there is an opportunity for our clients to maximise this relief on affordable housing requirements, which will hopefully remain unchallenged.