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Monitoring planning obligations (Section 106)

A planning obligation (S.106) is a formal document 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 legal agreement between one person and the council or a multi-party agreement.

Planning obligations are legally binding and are attached to a planning permission. They are designed to make a development acceptable in planning terms, where it would not otherwise be acceptable. The most usual use of a Section 106 agreement is to provide affordable housing or a financial contribution for infrastructure or affordable housing.

A planning obligation (S.106) can be subject to conditions. It may specify that a sum(s) of money be paid on a specified date(s) or over a set timescale. It may restrict the development, operations or use of land in a specific way.

We monitor planning obligations (S.106) to make sure that any required operations are carried out and any payments made within the timescales set out in the legal agreement. If it is not complied with, we can take enforcement action. Action is taken against the person who entered into the legal agreement and any subsequent owner(s).

If we decide that there is a breach of a planning obligation (S.106), there are three options we can take:

  • we can apply to the Court for an injunction. Failure to comply with an injunction can lead to an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment
  • we can enter the land to complete works. We must give 21 days’ notice of our intention. We will seek to recover our costs
  • we may place a local land charge on the land or property which is binding on successive owners