London Losing out on 106 Agreements

Josef Davies-Coates lists at
Thu Feb 21 13:15:33 GMT 2008

Areas of London could be losing out on new roads, affordable housing,
health facilities, new parks and enhanced transport capacity, a London
Assembly report has warned.

Over the next decade, boroughs could be paid as much as £1bn by developers,
and hundreds of millions more in terms of 'in kind' payments through
Section 1061 agreements. This is paid to offset the disruption caused to
the community and pressures put on local services like education and
policing during the construction of new housing and shopping centres.

However, the Assembly's Planning and Spatial Development Committee has
found that a combination of inadequate negotiation skills, high staff
turnover and lack of clear guidelines for developers means some boroughs
are securing substantially fewer community benefits than they should. Some
boroughs have managed to negotiate benefits of £155,000 compared with
others that approach £35m.

The report, Who gains?, says that despite the enormous potential value of
S106, a third of boroughs do not think they have enough staff devoted to
negotiating. This is compounded by high staff turnover, one London borough
experienced a 100% turnover of staff in just six months, meaning that
valuable experience is lost to the organisation.

The Committee found that developers support having to contribute to
'mitigate' the effects of their proposals. But, in general, they also need
to be clear about what is likely to be expected of them at an early stage,
before they apply for planning permission, to be able to decide whether
their development is viable.

The Committee found that there are examples of good practice being
developed by boroughs, but not all have adopted policies that would enable
them to negotiate even more benefits for their residents.

Tony Arbour AM, Chairman of the Planning an d Spatial Development Committee
, said: "London is booming at a pace and scale of growth that has rarely
been seen in the city's history. But many boroughs are failing to reap the
full benefits that new developments can bring.

"Unless planning departments have the skills and staff to negotiate the
best deals, the full potential of Section 106 agreements will never be
achieved and residents will continue to miss out on millions of pounds
worth of improvements to their local areas."

Ben Levinson
Regional Marketing Officer (London)
Groundwork London
18-21 Morley Street, London SE1 7QZ
Tel: 020 7922 1230
Fax: 020 7922 1219

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Josef Davies-Coates
07974 88 88 95
Together We Have Everything
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