Planning Obligations SPD

Ended on the 30th September 2015
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Chapter 3: Policy on Planning Obligations

3.1. National Policy and Guidance

3.2. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 204 states planning obligations should only be sought where they meet all of the following tests:

  • necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  • directly related to the development; and
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

3.3. These are known as the “CIL Tests” after the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations which made them statutory requirements.

3.4. National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) provides guidance on planning obligations and can be read via the following link: Planning obligations guidance

3.5. In summary the Guidance describes:

  • when planning obligations can be sought by the Planning Authority;
  • how they relate to other contributions;
  • that a policy on obligations should be set out in the development plan;
  • that requirements should be fully justified and evidenced;
  • that some obligations such as for affordable housing should be flexible and can be subject to negotiation;
  • that planning obligations can be re-negotiated;
  • that funding may be returned if it is not required or used in a specified time;
  • that appeals can be made against refusals to change a planning obligation;
  • that contributions to affordable housing or other tariff style obligations should not be sought from developments below a threshold of 10-units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floor space of no more than 1000sqm;
  • that obligations can be made by commuted contributions (funding payments) payable once development is completed;
  • that tariff style contributions (set contributions per dwelling to pooled funding ‘pots’ intended to provide common types of infrastructure for the wider area) must still satisfy the three tests (referred to above).

3.6. From April 2015, regulations restrict the use of pooled contributions towards items that may be funded via the Levy. At that point, if five or more obligations for that project or type of infrastructure have already been entered into since 6 April 2010, and it is a type of infrastructure that is capable of being funded by the levy, no more may be collected in respect of a specific infrastructure project or a type of infrastructure through a section 106 agreement.

(8) Question 8:

Do you have any comments to make on National Policy and Guidance?

3.7. Local Policy

3.8. The Harborough District Core Strategy 2011 is the relevant adopted development plan for the District. Policy CS12 and Appendix 2 defines the levels of infrastructure necessary to mitigate the development proposals in the Strategy. Policy CS3 supports development of an appropriate mix of housing including provision of lower cost affordable homes to rent through social housing providers which are secured through planning obligations.

3.9. Policy CS2, CS12 and Appendix 2 to the Core Strategy indicates areas which are therefore likely to be the subject of planning obligations as follows:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Community Facilities
  • Open Space, Sport and Recreation Provision
  • Adult Health and Social Care
  • Education
  • Highways and Transportation
  • Library Services and Facilities
  • Waste (Including Civic Amenity Sites)
  • Public Health
  • Policing

3.10. Whilst these areas form the basis for planning obligations, such obligations may be sought towards any other type of infrastructure or project which is necessary to make unacceptable development acceptable in planning terms (National Planning Policy Guidance on Planning Obligations para 001). Obligations may be sought where appropriate towards matters related to flood control and sustainable drainage. Officers are also researching the need to apply obligations in future to ensure connectivity to high speed broadband which is becoming a key component of sustainable development1.

3.11. The tests referred to above will still need to be passed in order for an obligation to be justified. The following section describes how this is carried out.

(4) Question 9:

Do you have any comments to make about Local Policy?


1 Leicestershire operates a two tier system of local government. Services such as housing, open space and waste collection are the responsibility of the seven District and Borough Councils. They are also the local planning authorities responsible for local plan making and the determination of planning applications for developments relating to housing, commerce, industry, retail and other matters. The County Council, (itself a local planning authority for minerals and waste matters), is responsible for the provision/commissioning of a range services including education, highways, transport, libraries, social care, public health and waste disposal.
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