Planning obligations are legal agreements entered into by the developer of land to reduce the impacts of a development proposal. The basis for requesting a planning obligation (to accompany certain planning applications) is set out in section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).
Planning obligations can be entered into by way of a section 106 agreement between us (the Local Planning Authority) and the developer. They are signed by us, the developer and all others with an interest in the site; or via an unilateral undertaking signed by the developer and all others with an interest in the site only.
Planning obligations ensure that certain work and/or financial contributions required to reduce the impact of the development are carried out. They also ensure that the proposed development is acceptable in planning terms.
Examples of work required by planning obligations include:
- the provision of play areas and equipment
- other public open spaces or community meeting spaces
- affordable housing
- highway works
If a planning obligation is required as part of a planning application, planning permission will not be granted until it has been agreed and signed.
Our Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and section 106 planning obligations guide gives information on our requirements for developers to provide or contribute to services and amenities.
For general information on planning obligations refer to the National Planning Policy Guidance.
The planning obligation process
If your proposed development requires a planning obligation, a case officer will contact you to discuss the requirements. They will also request your written agreement to the terms which need to be secured. Since a planning obligation is a legal document, the case officer will instruct our legal team to negotiate the terms of the planning obligation with you or your solicitor. It is recommended that you seek independent legal advice before entering into a planning obligation.
Any application that requires a planning obligation is required by the Council’s Constitution to be placed on the Circulated Schedule prior to the decision being issued, as councillors may wish to call the application to committee. Once the planning obligation has been signed, a decision will be issued in line with the officer recommendation or outcome of the committee meeting.
Where a unilateral undertaking is submitted, will we need to ensure we are satisfied with its contents, before a decision notice will not be issued following the above procedure.
When a section 106 agreement or unilateral undertaking is entered into, applicants will be expected to cover our legal costs for drafting, negotiating and processing these. A decision notice will not be issued until payment has been made.
Modifying planning obligations
You can apply to modify a planning obligation which has been previously entered into in respect of a development. You must notify the us in writing that you wish to do so, including a copy of the revised draft heads of terms. We will acknowledge your letter and advise you of the case officer. The case officer will consult with relevant consultees and advise you whether the modification would be supported.