Vacant building credit
Vacant building credit

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Vacant building credit
  • What is the vacant building credit?
  • What is the background to the introduction of the vacant building credit?
  • What is the purpose of the credit?
  • Process for determining the credit
  • PPG guidance
  • LPA guidance
  • Relationship with Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Concerns

What is the vacant building credit?

Under national planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to support the re-use of brownfield land, where vacant buildings are being re-used or redeveloped, any affordable housing contribution due on the redevelopment should be reduced by an amount proportionate to the existing buildings. This is known as the vacant building credit.

What is the background to the introduction of the vacant building credit?

The vacant building credit was introduced on 28 November 2014 in a written ministerial statement, alongside an exemption from affordable housing requirements for small sites. The written ministerial statement in respect of the vacant building credit set out that:

‘A financial credit, equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of any vacant buildings brought back into any lawful use or demolished for redevelopment, should be deducted from the calculation of any affordable housing contributions sought from relevant development schemes. This will not however apply to vacant buildings which have been abandoned.’

The vacant building credit and affordable housing exemption were subsequently incorporated into the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

However, in July 2015, the High Court ruled that the affordable housing exemption was unlawful, which prompted the withdrawal and removal of both the exemption and vacant building credit from the PPG. In May 2016, the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v West Berkshire

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