Birmingham Post 24/12/08 - Jane Tyler, Business Staff: Leisure, transport and community projects worth millions of pounds could be scrapped because recession-hit developers are refusing to hand over the money they promised Birmingham City Council in return for being granted planning permission. At least £13million is at risk of being withheld as property developers begin to break Section 106 agreements – legally binding contracts requiring builders to pay cash sums to fund projects which are of benefit to the community.
My letter to email@example.com - published 30 December 08Dear Editor THREATENED RENEGOTIATION OF S106As In 2004, having fought for ten years to prevent losing more green space in Handsworth, campaigners were forced to accept the decision - by a very small margin of votes among councillors on Birmingham's Planning Committee - to negotiate a Section 106 Agreement to permit new homes to be built on the Victoria Jubilee Allotments (VJA) - a private site neglected by its owners'. Can it be that having taken a profit from the houses they and their predecessors, Westbury Homes, have built and sold on the Victoria Jubilee Allotments, the current developer, Charles Church, is seeking permission to renegotiate the agreement made with the Council and - implicitly - with a most active community? (Jane Tyler, Birmingham Post 24 December 2008). We, with many others, anticipating trends now acknowledged by Government, (e.g. Baroness Kay Andrews' Introduction to 'Growing in the Community' 2nd ed.2008) argued convincingly that there was enough demand for allotments for the whole VJA site to be afforded the protection allotments are allowed by statute and Planning Guidance (PPG17). The city planner's lower estimate of that demand was used to sway the Committee to approve the application to build houses on the allotments. In May 2007 we were assured by Alan Orr, Perry Barr Community Planning Officer, that new houses had been sold in sufficient numbers to trigger the next stage of the S106A - three playing fields, including a cricket pitch, and eighty allotments. How brash if now, having taken their profit, Charles Church claim themselves 'burdened' by the terms on which they made it. With best wishes for New Year 2009. Yours etc,. Simon Baddeley, Handsworth Allotments Information Group