Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
The delivery of an extra 20,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Government is a key policy commitment which will require concerted action if we are to be successful. The Welsh Government budget, which identified an extra £1.3billion to supporting housing policies, is a significant commitment. However, if we are to realise our ambition, it will be necessary to use all policy levers available and this includes the use of Section 106 agreements through the planning system.
Section 106 agreements are widely used to provide much need associated infrastructure. In conjunction with development plan policies, they form the context for securing affordable homes through the planning system. Last year 29% of all affordable homes were built as a result of this system.
I recognise development viability is variable in different parts of Wales and will require a flexible approach when negotiating the details of Section 106 agreements. Local Authorities’ approach should be set out in their adopted development plans which should have clear policies for the delivery of affordable housing should use this as the context for negotiating individual Section 106 agreements recognising the specific viability issues on a site by site basis.
Most housing developments will put additional pressure on public services, and it is only right that local planning authorities seek to recoup some of the uplift in the value of land, derived as a consequence of obtaining planning permission by the appropriate use of Section 106 agreements. It is important these agreements are proportionate to the development and recognise the impact on the viability of development. It is the viability of market housing sites rather than their size which should be the important determinant when negotiating Section 106 agreements