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Section 106 agreements - planning obligations

Section 106 agreements and planning obligations can influence and shape development proposals and their impact on the community.

As part of the consideration of a planning application, section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended 1991) enables local authorities to negotiate with developers certain works, restrictions, or contributions towards a range of infrastructure and services, such as community facilities, public open space, transport improvements and/or affordable housing.

Such agreements are an established and valuable mechanism for mitigating a particular impact arising from a development proposal. They are commonly used to bring development in line with the objectives of sustainable development as articulated through relevant local, regional and national planning policies.

Impact of planning obligations

Planning obligations can be positive (requiring a specified action to be taken before the start of a development), negative (preventing development from taking place until a specified action has been taken by the developer) or restrictive (restricting how the development may be used).

More specifically, planning obligations may:

  • be unconditional or subject to conditions
  • restrict development or use of the land
  • require operations or activities to be carried in, on, under or over the land
  • require the land to be used in any specified way
  • impose any restrictions or requirement for an indefinite or specified period (enabling, for instance, an obligation to end when a planning permission expires)
  • require payment to be made either in a single sum or periodically, for either a specific amount or based on a specific formula.

Planning obligations can include:

  • affordable housing provision/contribution 
  • creation, maintenance and adoption of open spaces and recreational facilities
  • provision or adoption of new highways and public rights of way
  • community facilities
  • travel plans
  • an education contribution.

Welsh Office Circular 13/97 (Planning Obligations) states that planning obligations must be:

  • necessary
  • relevant to planning
  • directly related to the proposed development
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development; and
  • reasonable in all other respects.

If you have any enquiries regarding planning obligations and section 106 agreements please contact

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Last modified on 26 April 2023