Please note that the content of this website is a point in time summary and is not intended to be prescriptive or final. Users are advised to check with the relevant bodies for the very latest status of all policy and guidance.

T9.1: Regulatory and Strategic Policy Background

The basis of planning obligations is currently set out in Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). Following the introduction of the CIL Regulations on 6th April 2010, it is unlawful for a planning obligation to constitute a reason to grant planning permission unless it is:

  • necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  • directly related to the development; and
  • fairly and reasonable related in scale and kind to the development.

The CIL Regulations will also restrict Planning Obligations in the future. From 6th April 2014 or the date from which the first CIL Charging Schedule comes into effect (whichever is the earliest), local authorities will only be able to seek a maximum of five planning obligations towards infrastructure which could be provided via CIL.

Currently S106 Agreements can be used to secure a contribution from the developer to secure certain planning requirements, compensate for any loss or damage caused by a development, or to mitigate against a developments wider impact. The contribution can relate to either on or off site works and provisions, and can also relate to providing what is required and / or the paying of a sum of money to ensure something happens.

Obligations run with the land and so may be enforced against both the original covenanter and against anyone subsequently acquiring an interest in the land. They can take the form of either a planning agreement entered into by the owner(s) / developer(s) and the Local Authority(s), or a unilateral undertaking by the owner(s) / developer(s).

In some circumstances the imposition of a planning condition can secure the same desired outcome as an obligation. It remains the view of Government that if there is a choice between imposing a planning condition and entering into an obligation then the preference is for a condition (NPPF, para 203). Circular 11/95: Use of Conditions in a planning permission (ODPM, 1995) gives guidance on the use of planning conditions.

Last Updated on Thursday 29/03/2012 - 11:56AM

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Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS), 2017