Last edited 05 Apr 2015

Section 106 consultation

The Autumn Statement 2014 included a commitment to consult on measures to speed up section 106 agreements as part of the government’s plans to deliver a faster and more effective planning system.

Section 106 agreements, also known as ‘planning obligations’ are obligations attached to land that is the subject of a planning permission. They are used to mitigate or compensate for the negative impacts of a development or to prescribe the nature of a development. They are intended to make acceptable developments which would otherwise be unacceptable.

On 20 February 2015 the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) launched a consultation on Section 106 agreements. Ref, Section 106 planning obligations - speeding up negotiations.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis MP said, “Section 106 planning agreements can bring great benefits to local communities but too often they drag out planning applications for months. That’s why today I’m proposing measures that will speed up the process, get planning permissions granted quicker and workers on site earlier, all the while keeping the community benefits that these agreements can bring.” Ref, New measures will speed up housebuilding.

The proposals included:

  • Setting time limits so that section 106 negotiations are completed in line with the 8 to 13 week target for planning applications.
  • Requiring parties to start discussions at the beginning of the planning application process, rather than towards the end.
  • Establishing a dispute resolution process where negotiations stall.
  • Using standardised documents to avoid agreements being drafted from scratch for each application.
  • Potential legislation in the next Parliament to enforce the new measures.

The consultation also sought views on removing the need to contribute to affordable housing where a developer is building student accommodation.

The consultation closed on 19 March 2015 and the government response was published a week later on 25 March. Updated planning guidance published alongside the response makes clear that:

  • Section 106 negotiations should be completed within the 8-13 week time limit for determining applications, unless agreed by the parties.
  • Planning authorities should use standard forms and templates.
  • Discussions should take place as early as possible, including the pre-application stage.

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