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Compensation for unwanted development: CPRE's response

Today, The Telegraph quoted a Government source apparently suggesting that rural homeowners could be given cash payments in compensation for unwanted developments. 

Matt Thomson, head of planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments: 

“It is unlikely that the DCLG source quoted in The Telegraph is seriously – or even knowingly – proposing that Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) cash should simply be handed over to people living in areas affected by new housing development. Rather the source is suggesting that development should benefit people living in the area through investment in infrastructure and services, instead of that investment being made somewhere else.

“This is in fact a central tenet of the way that CIL and section 106 funds are generally used, with at least 15% of CIL funds being allocated to local community priorities, rising to 25% where a neighbourhood plan is in place. Still, Government appears committed to ensuring that the benefit to those most immediately affected by development is improved still further, as The Telegraph’s source states.

“If it really were the case that the Government planned to put cash directly into people’s pockets, the move would be almost impossible to administer. Among the problems would be a local infrastructure deficit, caused by cash for households being taken from funds earmarked for the provision of infrastructure necessary to support new development.

“A move to pay households directly would signal that the Government is giving up on making the planning process work for communities. Bypassing community engagement with pay-outs would not be a constructive approach.

“The existing planning system does allow for some compensation to those harmed by developments under certain circumstances, and perhaps there is a case for being more generous about compensation. But the key factor must be that decisions are made in response to planning policies and other relevant factors, and compensation should only considered after a decision has objectively been made, not before.”

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