Rule change means less for community
THE COMMUNITY is missing out on more than £120,000 of developers’ cash after a change in the law.
Cheshire East council is allowed to ask developers for money to put towards community facilities as part of agreements made in planning applications.
This ‘section 106’ agreement could go towards affordable housing or parks, and is a condition of the planning permission.
But the government has issued new guidance which means councils can no longer ask developers building less than ten houses for section 106 contributions.
This has led to developers resubmitting previously approved applications with section 106 agreements removed, with the potential for more developers coming forward.
At the last Northern Planning Committee meeting, councillors dealt with three such applications for Macclesfield. The first application to demolish Armitt Street Works and build 10 terraced homes was previously approved with an agreement for £40,000 for improvements at South Park. Another application by the same applicant for ten terraced homes on land north of Park Royal Drive was agreed with £40,000 per house for outdoor facilities at Christchurch, West Park, Shaw Street and South Park.
An application by Peaks and Plains Housing Trust to demolish garages and build a three-storey apartment block and houses on Tenby Road, Macclesfield, was originally agreed with £24,000 for public open space elsewhere in the town. But the applicants resubmitted the applications and councillors were forced to approve them without the extra cash.
Nick Turpin, council planning officer, said the move is to encourage developers to build on brownfield and warned the council has no chance of winning at appeal if councillors refused the applications.
Coun Martin Hardy, speaking on the Armitt Street application, said: “This doesn’t fit well with me whatsoever. The application was granted on March 4 and all of a sudden it’s coming back to us. This has been approved and now we’re having a pointless debate about whether we’re happy. This is at detriment to the local community and people who use South Park. I’ve got no issue with the scheme but that principle. It’s a quandary, we’re dammed if we do or don’t.”