PLANNING GAIN: SELF-BUILDER’S AND SMALL DEVELOPER’S GUIDE

Planning Conditions are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Instead of refusing a planning application, the LPA may attach a series of conditions with the approval of consent – you’ll find these on your decision notice from the LPA. The conditions could require additional approval ,through a secondary application in relation to materials for example, or restrict the use of the site. The NPPF states that planning conditions should only be imposed when they are necessary, relevant, enforceable, precise, and reasonable in all aspects.


Planning applications can also be subject planning obligations. Planning obligations are set out in the NPPF and are described as ‘legally enforceable obligations entered into under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to mitigate the impact of a development proposal’. Planning Obligations are also referred to as ‘S106 Agreements’, ‘Planning Gain’ and ‘Developer Contributions’.


What are S106 Obligations?

Unlike the Community Infrastructure Levy, which is a tariff-based system, Section 106 is charged based on the specific needs of the local community. In other words, these obligations are intended to make acceptable developments which would otherwise be unacceptable by offsetting their negative impacts. These obligations apply to land that is subject to planning permission and transfer with the land to future owners. If you are looking to buy a plot of land to develop or self-build, it’s worth doing a little investigative digging to clarify whether there are any planning obligations associated with that site or parcel of land.


Section 106 obligation can:

  • restrict the development or use of the land in any specified way

  • require specified operations or activities to be carried out in, on, under or over the land

  • require the land to be used in any specified way

  • require a sum or sums to be paid to the authority on a specified date or dates or periodically.


The most common form of section 106 agreements are affordable housing requirements but they also include requirements to make compensations for the loss of open space, and contributions to the provisions of additional infrastructure to serve the development. A Section 106 agreement can specify restrictions for a time period or indefinitely. We’d advise that any developer enter early discussions with the local planning authority if the land they’re developing has planning obligations or is likely to have obligations placed on it. This helps ease the process and avoids unexpected developments and miscommunications down the line . You can appeal against obligations which are considered to be unreasonable.


How Does This All Link to CIL?

In 2010, the Community Infrastructure Levy was introduced – read more about CIL. The Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule is currently a voluntary tariff-based system that LPAs can choose to impose on new development. This is independent of Section 106 but could affect any planning and budgeting so it is prudent to discover if your development is likely to come under CIL before this stage of the project.


Exemptions to CIL

Community Infrastructure Levy can be a lengthy and stressful process, especially for self-builders. Applying for an exemption needs to be done prior to any commencement on site. Early preparation and execution of this process is key to secure the exemption.


We’ve written a generic handy guide to the whole CIL process which can be read here.

Forms for exemptions can be found on the Planning Portal website and you can read our ‘Following the Regulations & Common Pitfalls’ CIL article.


Exemptions to Planning Obligations

Exemptions for Section 106 Agreements have been introduced in the past and removed several times for a variety of reasons. Our best advice at this point is to contact your Local Planning Authority to discuss whether they operate an exemptions policy for S106 and how you can benefit from this process.


How can we Help?

We are constantly looking to develop relationships with property professionals with focus on site development schemes across the North West and we want to hear from you. If you would like to find out more or discuss your project with one of the Arkhi team, get in touch on 01260 540170 or drop us an email at hi@arkhi.co.uk.


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