Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), commonly known as s106 agreements, are a mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable. They are focused on site specific mitigation of the impact of development. S106 agreements are often referred to as 'developer contributions' along with highway contributions and the Community Infrastructure Levy.
The common uses of planning obligations are to secure affordable housing, and to specify the type and timing of this housing; and to secure financial contributions to provide infrastructure or affordable housing. However these are not the only uses for a s106 obligation. A s106 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; or
require a sum or sums to be paid to the authority (or, to the Greater London Authority) on a specified date or dates or periodically.
A planning obligation can be subject to conditions, it can specify restrictions definitely or indefinitely, and in terms of payments the timing of these can be specified in the obligation.
If the s106 is not complied with, it is enforceable against the person that entered into the obligation and any subsequent owner. The s106 can be enforced by injunction.
In case of a breach of the obligation the authority can take direct action and recover expenses.
The planning obligation is a formal document, a deed, which states that it is an obligation for planning purposes, identifies the relevant land, the person entering the obligation and their interest and the relevant local authority that would enforce the obligation. The obligation can be a unitary obligation or multi party agreement.
The obligation becomes a land charge.
To view Section 106 agreements click here.