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Coming Soon - Home Extension Tax!


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This from Planning Resource...

 

Purbeck applies ?1,000 extension tax

Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 13 June 2008

 

Purbeck District Council in Dorset has begun applying section 106 agreements for home-owners wishing to extend their properties.

 

The ?993 charge, introduced under a clause of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, is normally applied to major developers to ensure that they contribute towards the community in exchange for building in an area.

 

Purbeck is believed to be the first council in the country to apply planning laws to ordinary householders in such a way.

 

The charge is applied to each extra bedroom in an extension, or "room having the capacity to be a bedroom".

 

 

How many of you think that other Council's will rapidly jump on this particular band wagon :?::evil:

 

I am not convinced of the rationale behind this at all. People who pay to extend their property, for example to create a downstairs room to house an infirm relative, then get caned for doing so. What are they supposed to do - beggar themselves paying out for over-priced but sub-standard care homes? What about the bit that says that anything "having the capacity to be a bedroom" will be liable for the charge? This suggests that anything capable of accommodating a single-bed will be caught by this.

 

However, given that household extensions account for nearly 75% of all applications submitted, this sort of thing is going to prove a massive money-spinner for Council's. And as we all know, Council's are so good at spending money where it is needed... :roll:

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I just read about in in the paper..... Surely it's a very very late April Fools joke :evil:

 

The very same paper was reporting that Brown needs to be forced to cut/scrap Stamp Duty to boost the very stagnant housing market.

 

They will be taxing us for peeing next as they are taxing us for everything else :evil:

 

Big Brother is watching us all and grasping at any opportunity to charge us for making our own lives better through OUR OWN hard work :evil:

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Can't really see this as lawful. Planning obligations like this can only be used to make acceptable a development which would otherwise be unacceptable. First person to refuse to pay who gets refused consent will go to appeal and the council will get caned for abusing the system (effectively going against the principle that planning permission may not be bought or sold).

 

The argument is that every new dwelling and bedroom represents so many extra car trips, and to raise ?30m for the proverbial "package of measures" to combat congestion in Purbeck, each new dwelling should contribute between ?5k and ?10k depending on how many bedrooms, and each bedroom extension ?993. (5,000 extensions raises ?5m...) But it relies on a clause in a defunct planning guidance note (which isn't in the new guidance) and the possibility of "pooling" contributions from several developments. But there's no way to demonstrate a direct link between one extension and any particular item in a "package of measures" - policy says there should be a functional or geographic link between the development and the item of infrastructure provided as part of the developer's contribution, and the improvement be "directly related" to the development. You also have to show an audit trail - e.g. the developer pays the agreed contribution and you get a new mini-roundabout at the entrance to the new estate.

 

It's a clever argument but I don't think it will hold up - just more work for lawyers.

 

However, the Planning Bill does provide for a "community infrastructure levy" which may apply to any planning consent that increases the value of the land, so this may just be anticipating that.

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Vic, Purbeck BC has already raised ?90,000 through its "bedroom tax" and so I don't think that anyone has the appetite to take it to the High Court (which is where Council's traditionally get their caning). The Planning Inspectorate is essentially toothless in this case, because PINS doesn't have any remit to alter policy, whereas the High Court can.

 

Still, the Community Infrastructure Levy is currently getting massacred in the Commons - hence the Government's desperate move of pulling the Bill whilst further face-saving amendments are introduced (200 or so at last count) to try and ensure it doesn't get binned (although hopefully it will get well and truly stuffed when it comes to the Lords).

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I doubt the Council would refuse permission solely on the basis that someone refused to pay the charge since it is explicitly stated in the guidance on section 106 Agreements that "permission cannot be refused purely because an applicant refuses to offer benefits" by way a planning Agreement. I bet the Council cooks up some mealy-mouthed amenity-based reason for refusal :evil:

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But then you go to appeal against the mealy-mouthed reason. And if everyone refuses to pay, and they all go to appeal and win, then the Inspectorate starts saying the Council is acting daft and starts making them pay costs (or says they're abusing the system)

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A further update courtesy of the Planning Portal today:

 

Council defends its extensions charges

 

A Dorset district council has defended its decision to charge what has been called a "bedroom tax" on home extensions.

 

Purbeck District Council has come under fire from local residents and an MP over the issue.

 

However, the planning authority says the charge of ?993 is only levied on house extensions which require planning permission and goes into a fund mainly designed to improve transport provision.

 

The fund has been set up to finance transport improvements in the Purbeck area planned to reduce congestion on the A351. The measures include subsidies and improvements in the local bus network and proposals to bypass two villages, Bere Regis and Wool. To date the charge has raised some GBP 350,000.

 

"These improvements will take pressure off the existing road network which is causing congestion, pollution and inconvenience to local residents," said councillor Gary Suttle, leader of the council.

 

He added: "Government guidance allows councils to raise funds locally to resolve such issues. The other alternative is no development at all or a congestion charge, both of which the district council is keen to avoid. There is no other way of getting this money if people want to see an improved road scheme, this is the only way we believe that we can finance that."

 

Local MP Jim Knight, whose constituency covers South Dorset, said: "I don't mind developers having to pay more money because they are building houses to improve roads, etc. But it's unfair for residents because it just looks to me and to the people I represent as a money-making scheme for the council rather than it being something that's fair or reasonable."

 

A spokesperson for Communities and Local Government said: "Local councils need to be careful in using their powers in this way that they have clear and justified policies that show that these contributions really are necessary to support community infrastructure."

 

Interesting to see that the local MP has actually bothered to take an interest. The biggest problem with this will be the fact that most of the money raised will be frittered away paying consultants, rather than spent on delivering real improvements.

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