Carl Sargeant Minister for Natural Resources
As part of my ongoing commitment to support the delivery of new homes in Wales I commissioned research, earlier this year, to identify and quantify sites that have not been developed in Wales as a result of issues relating to S.106 agreements. I am pleased to announce that I have received the final research report and have published it on the Welsh Government website.
The research has shown that stalled sites primarily relate to residential development, with the construction of approximately 7,600 homes currently being prevented across Wales. The research has examined the reasons why sites are stalled and has made a series of recommendations.
The research concluded that there is not a single solution to the cause of delays to sites where S.106 agreements are involved. A number of recommendations have been identified to improve the transparency of the system, encourage greater awareness and knowledge of processes within it, and thereby reduce some of the delays currently experienced. I will consider the recommendations in detail and I will be looking to take them forward in conjunction with local planning authorities and the development industry.
The research has clearly demonstrated that site viability is a significant issue in its own right and is resulting in the delay and stalling of residential developments. I have reflected on the report`s conclusions and recommendations, in respect of viability, and I am of the view that any matters which make the assessment of viability and the delivery of homes any more problematic need to be examined rigorously.
I will take forward a project to develop a shared understanding between the house building industry and local planning authorities of the importance of accurate assessments of viability at all stages of the planning process. The project will take a holistic and longitudinal view of viability in respect of planning, from site identification during the preparation of a Local Development Plan (LDP) to the assessment of the site at the development management stage. I expect all stakeholders in the development process to engage fully in this project to inform recommendations, outcomes and solutions.