Council hitting developers in the pocket

New builds have been targetted
New builds have been targetted

Building your dream home in Galloway could cost you an extra £6K after the council introduced a policy of making developers pay a financial contribution towards local schools, infrastructure and community facilities.

But some developers have balked at this new move saying that it could make building in certain areas non-viable.

Progress with implementing ‘developer contributions’, introduced in the Local Development Plan in 2014, was discussed at yesterday’s meeting of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee in Dumfries.

Contributions are required in an area where the school capacity has been reached or is above 80 per cent.

Developers are particularly concerned about the impact on development proposals for single dwellings. It is claimed that the additional cost burden makes some single dwelling proposals uneconomic as it can form a significant proportion of the build cost. To date, agreement to a contribution has been reached in the case of 10 applications for single dwellings within pressured school catchments. The combined value of those contributions is £58,290, and average contribution of £5829 for each house.

Committee member Graham Nicol commented: “While I support the principle of this, I have great concerns about the way it was implemented. It strikes me it has managed to depress land value, stifle development and upset a lot of the population.

“We have to look at it being more sympathetic, especially in the rural area where people retiring from their business need to be given more latitude in the implementation of the policy - they are not going to be contributing to school numbers.”

The council say: “On receiving a planning application in an area where the school capacity has been reached a consultation with the education service is triggered. The development proposed is then assessed in more detail and the education officer will advise the case officer if a contribution is required.”