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Further clarification on education contributions

On 15 March 2019, the Government updated the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

The updated PPG clarifies that charging authorities can “choose to pool a proportion of their Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts to fund school projects[1]” in recognition that pupils residing in one area may choose to attend school elsewhere. As a result, more school infrastructure projects may be funded by multiple Local Planning Authority (LPAs) reflecting cross-boundary pupil movements. In some cases these movements may also be across Local Education Authority (LEA) boundaries creating potentially greater complexity.

What implications might this have for planning obligations?

  • In recognition of cross-border movements, the updated PPG states that “developer contributions may be required to expand schools out of the area[2]”. In many places across the country, LPAs are aware that their schools regularly accommodate pupils from other areas.
  • The renewed emphasis on LPAs working together to deliver school projects across boundaries could be particularly problematic when neighbouring LPAs use different methods to secure planning obligations. Despite the CIL Regulations (2010) stating that developments cannot be charged for the same items of infrastructure through both S106 obligations and CIL, developers could potentially be requested to make both S106 and CIL payments to mitigate the same impact - known as ‘double dipping’.
  • For S106 contributions to comply with CIL Regulations (2010) 122 and 123, a direct link has to be made to demonstrate how the contributions will mitigate the impact of residential development. As a result of the new guidance, there is now an added layer of complexity in understanding the impact of residential development on school provision - because school infrastructure projects coming forward in other areas may also be a relevant consideration.

The upshot

While the changes are subtle and support the current direction of change for planning obligations, they could inadvertently lead to greater complexity in securing appropriate developer contributions across boundaries. There may be a time lag in LPAs updating policy to ensure that mitigation does not fall through the planning gap between councils or LEAs or requested twice due to overlap in S106 and CIL across boundaries.

We will continue to monitor and advise clients of the implications of the revised guidance in practice.

Want to know more?

We regularly work with our clients to estimate the impact of residential schemes and negotiate contributions.

  • We specialise in analysing the impact of residential development on education provision.
  • We act on behalf of clients, providing robust data and carrying out S106 negotiations with LEAs across the country.
  • We have saved our clients over £3.3 million in education S106 by ensuring the contributions reflect the direct scheme impact.

If you would like to know more about our approach or to discuss a specific scheme, please contact Maxine Kennedy or Amy Gilham.

For further information about CIL, planning obligations and other viability matters, please contact Matt Spilsbury.

28 March 2019

[1] MHCLG, 15th March 2019 – CIL guidance

[2] MHCLG, 15th March 2019 – Planning obligations

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