But study says the idea could have merit at local level

A national "common starting point" for planning gain negotiations is not feasible because of wide variations in housing markets and land prices around the country, a study has said.

However the report for the department for communities and local government said a common starting point at planning authority level with clear guidelines on how it should be used could help councils to get more affordable housing through section 106 agreements.

The report said a regional common starting point could result in a trade-off where planning authorities that were already successful in getting big contributions from developers saw those gains drop while less successful authorities in the region increased the amount they secured.

The report said free land was not an appropriate starting point because many already got higher developer contributions than this. It also said affordable housing with grant should not be the base for negotiations because grant should only be used where viability is a problem or value is added by, for example, changing the tenure split. It said a starting point which specifies what the developer should pay for the units without grant may not always be viable.

The report found that common starting points could help councils which did not have the skills to get affordable housing through section 106.