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Development Contributions – New Guidelines for Scheme

To assist in the delivery of essential infrastructure, local authorities impose development contributions in planning permissions for developments which benefit/are to benefit from public infrastructure and facilities provided/to be provided by the local authority.

Certain local authorities amended their development contribution schemes in light of the economic environment. However, to achieve a consistent nationwide approach balancing generating revenue and promoting economic activity, the Government has introduced non-statutory policy guidelines for revising development contribution schemes.

All planning authorities are to commence a review of their existing development contribution schemes by 31 March 2013 to ensure compliance with the content of the guidance. The following are among the requirements for inclusion in development contribution schemes going forward:

  • Reduced rates of development contributions / waivers for development in town centres
  • Reduced rates for temporary permissions
  • Waivers in case of permissions for:
    • Certain changes of use
    • Broadband infrastructure
    • Certain works on protected structures
  • Options for reduced charges in respect of renewable energy development to promote uptake of renewable energy technologies
  • Promotion of the development of areas prioritised in their core strategies which could include incentivising activity through lower development contributions

It is clear that no exemptions or waivers are to apply for applications for retention of development which are to be subject to higher rates.

In advance of 31 March 2013, the collection of unpaid contributions owed by developers who have already benefitted from a planning gain through a grant of planning permission has been recommended.

Contributed by Tara Rush.