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Use of planning obligations

When are planning obligations used?

Planning obligations are usually negotiated in the context of a planning application. They are generally used when planning conditions are not suitable or cannot deliver the particular requirement. A planning obligation may only constitute a reason for granted planning permission for the development if the obligation is:

a) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
b) directly related to the development
c) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development

Where development is needed to meet the aims of a development plan, the local authority and public sector agencies decide the contributions that are required. Payments from planning obligations can be supported by further private or public funding to help deliver the required development. These decisions are reached through negotiation.

What can planning obligations be used for?

Since the introduction of CIL in September 2014, we cannot ask for S106 obligations to fund any items that should be funded from CIL – which are listed on the R123 list.  This means that in West Lancashire the following items will continue to be secured on a site by site basis through either Section 106 obligations or planning conditions.

  • Affordable homes
  • Education provision
  • Onsite open space and future maintenance
  • Flood alleviation measures
  • Other site specific items

The developer will either create these or make payments to us for them to be carried out. All planning obligations must be relevant to the development they relate to.

The use of planning obligations must be governed by the basic principle that planning permission may not be bought or sold!  Similarly, planning obligations should never be used as a means of securing an illegitimate 'betterment levy' for the local community. In some cases, it may not be possible for the proposed development to meet all the requirements set out in local, regional and national planning policies and still be economically viable.