Planning shake-up could leave developers facing increased council charges in Barnsley

A wide-reaching set of planning guidelines could be approved by Barnsley Council’s ruling Cabinet when it meets next week, which could leave developers paying increased costs for building new homes in the district.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th May 2019, 4:45 pm
Cost: New homes in Barnsley may incur higher council charges in future

However one of the proposals, covering the cash contributions made towards maintaining public transport, has been put on hold to allow time for further work, following feedback from consultations.

The proposals are called Special Planning Documents and are intended to formalise the planning process, following the introduction of Barnsley’s Local Plan earlier this year, which sets out the major sites available for housing projects in the years ahead.

Setting out the guidance is intended to make planning applications simpler, but one consequence is that developers may be expected to contribute more towards the cost of the burden new homes will put on the schools network in future.

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That, along with proposals which could have seen payments of up to £1,500 per bedroom introduced to help support ‘sustainable’ transport, provoked a joint response from ten major housing developers which work in the district, arguing the changes could more than double the contributions they make to the public purse, arguing the impact of that could leave some sites now earmarked for new homes unviable because of reduced profit margins.

Cabinet members have been told more work is needed on the guidance around payments towards transport, with that expected to be returned to a future Cabinet meeting.

Despite developers’ concerns, Cabinet members will be told the impact of costs for school places is difficult to quantify, with a report stating: “For school places, the exact quantum of the increase is difficult to quantify as contributions are dependent on the number of applications and as contributions sought are often calculated on a case by case basis depending on the requirements of the individual school.”

Under the proposals, it is also expected developers would have to spend more on providing green spaces alongside their new developments, under a system known as Section 106 payments.