Developer Contributions in West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland
Development goes beyond simply finding a site and building a scheme. It has impacts in the local area that require both new infrastructure and investment in existing infrastructure such as schools and roads. This page provides information about developer contributions collected through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and planning obligations which include Section 106 Agreements (S106) and affordable housing.
What are developer contributions?
Developers may be asked to provide contributions for infrastructure in several ways. In West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland this is done by way of the CIL and planning obligations in the form of S106 and section 278 highway agreements (under section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 as amended). Developers will also have to comply with any conditions attached to their planning permission.
It is important that the combined total impact of all developer contributions does not threaten the viability of a site. S106's, in terms of developer contributions, should be focused on addressing the site specific mitigation required by a new development and to facilitate the provision of affordable housing. CIL has been developed to address the broader impacts of development. There should be no circumstances where a developer is paying CIL and S106 for the same infrastructure in relation to the same development.
CIL along with planning obligations, will allow us to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in our area to support and fund local infrastructure that the development and local community needs.
CIL and S106 Annual Monitoring Document WDDC and WPBC June 2017
CIL and S106 Annual Monitoring Document WDDC and WPBC Nov 2016
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) - Local Plan Policy COM1
New development can have a very positive effect on an area, providing new homes, jobs and economic prosperity. However, development can also place additional pressures on resources and infrastructure such as schools, community and leisure facilities, transport infrastructure, health services and the local environment.
The adopted charging schedules only apply a CIL rate on proposals that create a dwelling and/or a dwelling with restricted holiday use. All other development types are therefore set a £0 per square metre CIL rate.
For more information about CIL and to find out whether your development proposal is likely to be liable for a CIL charge please look at our CIL page.
Developer contributions collected through CIL will be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure that is needed as a result of development. The money we collect through CIL will be spent on the following themes:
- education and training facilities
- flood mitigation and coast protection
- Dorset heathland mitigation
- Poole Harbour nutrient management contribution
- waste management facilities
- culture and leisure facilities
- healthcare facilities
- emergency services facilities
- public realm
Please look at the how CIL be spent in West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland page for more information.
Where new development will generate a need for new or improved community infrastructure and this need is not met through CIL, policy COM1 of the adopted West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan we will seek to secure this through planning obligations (Section 106 Agreements).
In the broadest possible sense, planning obligations exist to make a development acceptable in planning terms and as such need to meet three tests:
- necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
- directly related to the development; and
- fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development
Planning obligations will be used to secure:
site specific infrastructure to make the development acceptable in planning terms,
- on site open space provision
- on site transport infrastructure provision
- affordable housing (Local Plan Policy HOUS1) - including on site provision and financial contributions.
- on site Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) provision, for sites which are large enough to require this level of provision.
Planning obligations will require developer/owner to either (a) make a financial contribution towards facilities and services or (b) in some cases providing such services/facilities as part of the development. They can also require a developer to do something or restricts what can be done with land following planning permission being granted.
These agreements are legal and binding and run with the land, the agreement is between the planning authority, the applicant/developer and anyone else that has an interest in the land when a planning application is approved. The planning officer for the case will let the applicant know if a planning obligation is needed.
Planning obligations can be prepared by the Council's legal advisors, where a planning obligation is needed the planning officer will inform the applicant of this and instruct the Legal advisors to prepare the necessary agreement(s), please note there is a cost to the applicant for the preparation of such agreements, and this is currently £135 per hour. Once the legal advisors have been instructed they will contact the agent/applicant direct, with a costs undertaking to complete and to request up to date copies of the official Land Registry Title for the site.
Affordable Housing Policy - HOUS 1
The affordable housing policy HOUS 1 of the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan sets out that where open market housing is proposed affordable housing will also be required unless the proposal is for replacement or subdivision of an existing home. Where one or more affordable homes are being provided these should be part of the same development. Where this is not possible a financial contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere will be required to cover any shortfall that cannot be delivered on the site.
On 28 November 2014 a written ministerial statement was issued on support for small scale developers, custom and self builders. The statement introduced thresholds above which local authorities could require affordable housing and introduced a 'credit' for the re-use of vacant buildings. The change was subsequently quashed by a successful appeal in July 2015 but reintroduced on the same terms in May 2016.
In August 2016 both West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland councils agreed an approach which applies the change in thresholds and the vacant building credit.
On 20 December 2018 the Revised NPPF (2018) was published further changing the national affordable housing threshold. Provision of affordable housing should not be sought for residential developments that are not major developments, other than in designated rural areas (where policies may set out a lower threshold of 5 units or fewer). For housing, major development is defined as "development where 10 or more homes will be provided, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more."
The approach agreed by the former West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Councils in August 2016 continues to apply across the former West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland areas. This means "officers normally applying or recommending the application of the thresholds in national policy and guidance below which affordable housing should not be sought, including officers applying, or recommending the application of, a different threshold in 'rural areas' described under Section 157(1) of the Housing Act 1985".
In summary, the council will continue to seek affordable housing on:
- Housing development where 10 or more homes (net) are proposed, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more;
- In designated rural areas, a tariff-style contribution towards the provision of affordable housing, where a housing development of 6 to 9 homes (net) is proposed
Affordable housing contributions will not be sought from any development consisting only of the construction of a residential annex or extension to an existing home.
The council has prepared a guidance note setting out the level of contribution and a series of worked examples. The council has also prepared a contributions calculator.
Please note: Where Neighbourhood Plans have been made part of the development plan, different affordable housing percentages and thresholds may have been introduced. For a list of made plans please refer to our West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Completed Neighbourhood Plans page.
Please also note: neither the guidance note or the calculator make provision for the change in thresholds or the vacant building credit.
Silverlake Conservation and Community Fund
West Dorset District Council, Dorset Natural Environment Team and Habitat First have teamed up to create the Silverlake Conservation and Community Fund.