Experience from previous slow-downs has taught us that planning authorities need to be flexible if they want to help development to take place in their areas. Both the prospect of incurring section 106 obligations and CIL payments can be a reason for development not starting, or making the continuation of a development unviable. Planning agreements that were entered into in a more certain economic climate may need varying, and if less than 5 years have passed since they were completed the authority can block that. CIL payments are even less flexible, but with imagination these can be deferred.
The position may be even more critical where these concerns are preventing a development from starting, because the risk is that the planning permission will lapse. In this situation developers may also face issues in complying with onerous pre-commencement planning conditions.
In these cases it may be necessary to agree a package of measures aimed at kick-starting development - be it variations to planning obligations, the deferment of CIL payments and re-structuring planning permissions. Again, past experience has suggested that many planning authorities will seek a quid pro quo for such relaxations: a guarantee that development will happen. Ultimately, however, only a return of confidence to a fragile market can offer such guarantees and planning authorities who appreciate the difficulties will understand this.
Councils delay developer CIL payments