Vacant Building Credit (VBC) was re-introduced into the NPPG in May 2016 to less vocal opposition than
it faced when originally introduced following a Ministerial Statement in November 2014.
The Statement remains intact following the Court of Appeal's ruling that it
The broad premise of VBC is that is acts as a credit which
can be offset against the affordable housing requirement of new
development. The credit is equivalent to the existing gross
floorspace of a vacant building brought back into use or demolished
for redevelopment purposes. However, neither
'abandoned' buildings or those vacated for the sole purpose
of redevelopment are able to benefit from VBC.
Unhelpfully, the NPPG gives no guidance on how VBC is intended
to be applied. Two immediate issues arise:
What is meant by "vacant"?There is a concern that VBC
will incentivise landlords to force the vacation of offices,
industrial buildings or even houses to benefit from VBC.
There is also little assistance on where the line can be drawn to
assess whether a building is "vacant" or
What is meant by the "gross floorspace" of
the vacant building – GIA over GEA? Once that has been
confirmed, how that floorspace should be applied to calculate the
As a consequence, local authorities
are left to make sense of how to apply VBC, and inevitably are
creating methods and policies for approaching VBC in a way
which will minimise its impact on affordable housing
delivery. Emerging practice includes:
(i) interpreting "vacant"
as being opposite to the "in use" building test set out
in the CIL Regulations. This ensures that a
development is unable to benefit from both VBC and the demolition
credit which can reduce the amount of CIL payable;
(ii) requiring the entire building
to be vacant, not just part of it;
(iii) requiring the building for
which VBC has been sought to have been actively marketed for a
specified period (and for the method and details of marketing to be
(iv) requiring details of existing
floorspace to be provided on a GIA basis when a planning
application is submitted.
Of those local authorities that are putting in place policies
for calculating VBC, it is clear that there is no standard
approach; others will be reviewing whether they apply VBC at
all. The West Berkshire appeal confirmed that the VBC
policy is a material consideration and is not capable of being
applied in a "blanket" manner; many local authorities
will be taking comfort from this, possibly even reviewing how Local
Plan policies can be formulated to disapply VBC altogether.
VBC was introduced on the basis it would assist smaller
developers deliver viable schemes, however the Government has
failed again to build the necessary clarity into the guidance to
ensure that it is only small developments which benefit from
Left to local authorities to put in place their own mechanisms
provides no guarantee that VBC will assist those it was intended
to; as a consequence VBC's long-term impact on affordable
housing remains potentially damaging at a time when the need for
affordable homes remains critical, while the ability to rely on it
to bring forward otherwise uneconomic schemes remains unclear.
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
You are cordially invited to our workshop on processing of employees’ personal data in light of the new EU Regulation on Personal Data Protection (GDPR). The meeting is organized by Dentons together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland.
Dentons will hold a Competition Breakfast Seminar on February 28, 2017 titled: Rebates and discounts under EU competition law – lessons of the Intel case. Renowned competition lawyer James Venit from Dentons’ Brussels office will be joining co-heads Tihamér Tóth and Tünde Gönczöl of Dentons Budapest’s
You are cordially invited to a practical seminar on private antitrust enforcement in light of the soon to be implemented Damages Directive, which we address to the banking and finance sector. During the seminar we will present new tools designed for cartel damages litigation in light of fast forwarding the legislative process in Poland from a lawyer’s and an economist’s perspective. We will discuss examples of private antitrust litigation from a jurisdiction where the system is already effective and consider whether third party litigation funding is an option in Poland. All these points will help you identify potential claims against other market players and prepare a defense strategy against private enforcement claims targeting your institution.
The Technology and Construction Court (TCC) decided that the costs of claims consultants assisting in adjudication enforcement proceedings can be recovered as disbursements, assuming that those consultants acted in the adjudication.
The requirements of a valid payment notice issued under a construction contract were considered in a previous update: "A Payment Notice? Be Clear?" with reference to the case of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust v Logan Construction (South East) Ltd  ("Surrey and Sussex") a decision of the English High Court.
VL's appeal was against a decision by LBC on a review of an earlier refusal to provide VL and her family with housing on the grounds that she was not homeless, or threatened with homelessness, finding she had accommodation available to her in Portugal.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).