Sunday, 16 November 2014

Can we Trust the Developers?

  • NO!  Below are a couple of bullet points from Gill Clare's speech at last week's Town Council Meeting and below that just a little bit of information on the industry that has grown up to help and abet Developers from sneaking out of their responsibilities for S 106 and this will hold good for The CIL (Community Infrastructre Levy) as Well.

  • Taylor Wimpey has promised very little or nothing to support infrastructure and the interest in sustainability is questionable. This is a commercial opportunity and the company has no interest in the long-term future of the Town.  
  • The applicant is likely to deliver less, rather than more, than appears to have been promised.  Recently Hopkins Homes successfully reneged on commitments to provide affordable housing.  
The system has spawned a whole industry of S106 avoidance, with consultancies set up specifically to help developers get out of paying for affordable housing at all scales of development. Section 106 Management, set up by solicitor-turned-developer Robin Furby, is one such company that offers a service to small-scale developers, promising “to establish the profitability of your project and thereby reveal unviable Section 106 obligations”. Its website displays a list of case studies proudly showing how much they have helped developers dodge, and boasting of planning permissions achieved “without any contribution towards affordable housing” at all, saving “tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds”.So what exactly does it mean when a property developer pleads poverty? “If the profit margin for your scheme is pushed to below 17.5% by Section 106 payments, you should talk to us,” says the website. Other consultants promise to safeguard 20% profit margins and upwards, before any Section 106 contributions are even considered. If a scheme is declared “unviable”, it simply means “we’re not getting our 20% profit so why should we bother”.

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