Derby's planning chiefs set to ask developers to fund new swimming pools and libraries

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

Developers could face new obligations in Derby next year as council bosses seek cash for swimming pools and libraries.

Under planning laws, authorities can demand that developers create or make contributions to local amenities to help offset the impact of their schemes.

In Derby, contributions – otherwise known as Section 106 agreements – are negotiated in line with the city council’s Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), adopted in 2008.

A raft of changes in planning law and policy have since been introduced. As such, the council has drafted a new SPD.

The revised document includes a new section setting out the council’s approach towards applications for student accommodation.

It says: “The University of Derby does not provide any swimming facilities, so full contributions will be sought for swimming pools for developments of 50 beds and above.

“No contributions will be sought for sports halls and fitness suites as the university already provides them.”

Other contributions proposed are to be negotiated on a “site to site” basis, these could include libraries.

Developers in Derby could be asked for contributions towards the city's library services

Developers in Derby could be asked for contributions towards the city's library services

The 64-page draft says: “There may be circumstances where existing library facilities are insufficient to cope with the demand from the new population.

“Therefore, new or extended library facilities will be required. In these circumstances, the council will negotiate a contribution towards extended library provision.”

There is also a new section on flooding and drainage, as well as clarification on what constitutes affordable housing.

Developers with schemes close to the Derby and Sandiacre Canal could be asked to help fund its restoration.

And residential developments of 100 units and over will be required to help fund public art projects.

The proposed changes come seven years after the national Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations came into force.

This gave councils new powers to secure infrastructure funding from developers, should they choose to set a charge through the legislation.

A cabinet member report reveals Derby City Council chose not to adopt the regulations as “evidence has shown CIL produces substantially lower developer contributions”. However, it said the council’s planning policies should be updated to “reflect” the CIL regulations.

Furthermore, The National Planning Policy Framework was adopted by the Government in March 2012. This introduced, among other things, a broadening of the types of tenure that can be classed as affordable housing and impresses upon councils the importance of taking viability into account when considering whether to request planning obligations.

And at the start of 2017, Derby City Council adopted its Local Plan Part 1: Core Strategy. This set out a new context for negotiating Section 106 contributions.

More student accommodation schemes are planned for Derby. Pictured is Cathedral Court in Cathedral Road, which opened in 2016

More student accommodation schemes are planned for Derby. Pictured is Cathedral Court in Cathedral Road, which opened in 2016

The cabinet member report says these changes meant a new SPD was needed. It said: “The council could continue to use the adopted planning obligations SPD.

“However, as it is no longer compliant with current national planning law and national and local planning policy, this approach would leave the council vulnerable to legal challenges.”

A council spokesman said: “We are reviewing the council’s adopted planning obligations SPD to bring it up to date with current planning law and the new Local Plan.

“The draft SPD review sets out how we will seek planning obligations, or Section 106 agreements, to secure developer contributions towards city infrastructure.”

A public consultation on the draft runs until January 3.

To take part, visit ‘www.derby.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/consultations