Moray set to cap developer obligations as it strives for ‘the highest quality developments’
Councillor Claire Feaver, chair of Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services, has said the council will settle for “nothing less than the highest quality developments” for Moray after the local authority said it is working to introduce a cap on developer obligations in the region.
During a packed planning agenda, councillors reviewed strategies and guidance for a range of planning-related topics and new figures for developer obligations were put before the planning committee.
It was agreed that a maximum cap of £6,500 per residential unit could be introduced, with the funds raised going towards infrastructure improvements such as public transport or roads, schools and health provision.
This comes after a report by the Grampian District Valuer, and the recommendation that a cap be set at £6,500. Currently, some developers working on projects in Elgin are being asked for up to £14,000 for each property which can lead to extended negotiations.
It follows new that the Highland Council is to consider tripling developer contributions for schools in the Inverness area to help the local authority cope with increasing rolls at city schools.
Councillor Claire Feaver, said that certainty would be welcomed by the council as well as developers, as estimates on the funds raised through developer obligations could be calculated and included in future budgets.
Cllr Feaver said: “Updating these guidelines reflects the council’s approach to working with developers to maintain sustainable growth and making sure housing is kept affordable for residents. This work will continue as each year we’ll be updating the developer obligations guidance.”
The timescale for spending developer obligations could also increase from 10 years to 15 years, to allow larger scale projects to be designed and funded by the money raised.
Following the meeting, Cllr Feaver said that every step will be taken to make sure that any developments approved by the council are both of the highest quality and fit for purpose.
She said: “Land is the ultimate non-renewable resource and an incredibly precious commodity. Any development should be sympathetic, complement the existing built environment and the countryside that surrounds it.”
She added that the quality of life on offer in Moray for investors and residents is hard to beat.
“Local people want great opportunities for employment and we must make sure there is sufficient housing available for them. We’ll be working closely with investors and developers to make this happen.
“Families are being raised here, and residents will live out their retirement in the housing that we’re building now.”
Cllr Feaver added that hearing the views of people living in Moray is more important than ever.
“Ultimately we are answerable to the people of Moray. But for us to get it right we need to know what they think. I hope to hear from as many people as possible.”