Suffolk’s public service providers have worked together to produce guidance on the countywide approach to seeking developer contributions.
Planning obligations (or Section 106 agreements) are private agreements negotiated, usually in the context of planning applications, between local planning authorities and persons with an interest in a piece of land. They are intended to make otherwise unacceptable development acceptable in planning terms.
For example, planning obligations might be used to
- prescribe the nature of a development (e.g. by requiring that a given proportion of housing is affordable);
- secure a contribution from a developer to compensate for loss or damage created by a development (e.g. loss of open space);
- mitigate a development's impact (e.g. through increase public transport provision or increased education provision).
The outcome of all three of these uses of planning obligations should be that the proposed development concerned is made to accord with published local, regional or national planning policies.
The Section 106 Developers Guide to Infrastructure Contributions in Suffolk
Suffolk’s public service providers have worked together to produce the Guide which informs landowners, developers and members of the public with information on the type and scale of contributions, and other obligations, which the authorities may seek for defined types and scales of development.
The Guide was submitted for public consultation between 7 March 2011 and 3 May 2011. A Statement of Representations and Responses (PDF, 794 KB) has been prepared. It sets out a summary of all representations received during the consultation and the Suffolk local authorities’ response to those comments.
The Guide was subject to a screening exercise to decide whether or not a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) would be necessary before adoption. This was undertaken in line with European directives, to ensure that consideration was had to the environmental impacts of the policies as set out. Following consultation with stakeholders, it was decided that a full SEA would not be necessary, as each Suffolk Development Plan Document would have been screened separately, and the Guide’s only role is to assist in the implementation of those Documents. Similarly, the Guide was also screened for the need for a full Equality Impact Assessment, and it was concluded that full assessment was not needed.
A revised version of the guide, updated in light of consultation, is available below. Each of Suffolk’s district and borough councils, along with the Broads authority, is moving to adopt the Developers Guide. The county council’s cabinet adopted the Guide in February 2012, and so the documents below can be seen as an official statement of county council policy on infrastructure contributions.
Section 106 Developers Guide in Suffolk (PDF, 281 Kb)
An additional document sets out how the local planning authorities and service providers will work together in assessing infrastructure contributions and what a developer can expect from the authorities.
Code of Practice Protocol (PDF, 207 Kb)
The following topic papers are related to chapter four of the Guide and provide further information to infrastructure requirements that may be necessary to make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms. These papers have also been updated in light of the consultation:
- Air Quality (PDF, 34 Kb)
- Archaeology (PDF, 26 Kb)
- Early Years and Childcare Provision (PDF, 46 Kb)
- Education Provision (PDF, 66 Kb)
- Fire and Rescue Provision (PDF, 47 Kb)
- Health Infrastructure Provision (PDF, 25 Kb)
- Highways and Transport (PDF, 69 Kb)
- Libraries and Archive Infrastructure Provision (PDF, 34 Kb)
- Police Infrastructure Provision (PDF, 27 Kb)
- Supported Housing Provision (PDF, 26 Kb)
- Waste Disposal Facilities (PDF, 33 Kb)
District and Borough Councils.
Suffolk’s District and Borough Councils, as local planning authorities, lead on planning matters. More information can be found on their approaches to planning obligations on their websites, though an agreed approach to planning obligations has been set out by the Code of Practice Protocol, above.
Other Useful Information
Section 106 Agreements have their basis in the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. The key statutory guidance, explaining the way in which the Government expects planning obligations to be used, is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
With the exception of the Broads Authority, all of Suffolk’s Local Planning Authorities are planning on introducing a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). CIL is a standard charge on development that will replace much, but not all, of what is currently covered by Section 106 Agreements.
CIL is governed by regulations (The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 as amended in 2011 and 2012) that apply detail to the 2008 Planning Act. The Government has produced a Guidance Document on implementing a CIL, which includes reference to the role of county councils.
It is the Government’s intention that a proportion of CIL funds collected will be handed to the community affected by the development.