Planning obligations

These are also known as planning gain, planning benefits, community benefits or section 106 agreements.

Planning obligations are agreements between the council and developers, usually together with the granting of planning permission.  Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 introduced planning obligations, which can be ‘requirements’ or ‘agreements’ (most common kinds) or ‘unilateral undertakings’ by the planning applicant.

Planning obligations can be used to overcome adverse impacts and to improve the quality of development.  They can be essential or voluntary. A planning agreement cannot make a development approvable when it’s fundamentally unacceptable in policy terms. 

Money raised from planning obligations can only be used for the reasons set out in the agreement or unilateral undertaking.

Lessening a development’s impact may include:

  • new roads, junctions, traffic management and transport improvements and infrastructure
  • streetscape and environmental improvements
  • social, community, educational, recreational and open space improvements
  • job and business creation
  • affordable housing