A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


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Ten ways to speed up the negotiation of planning agreements.

SpeedThe Government consulted on this on 20th February. To follow up my earlier post on it here are my ten suggestions.

1 Amend s.106 to remove the restrictions on what a s.106 agreement can do, and particularly improve it for affordable housing

2 Revoke Reg 123 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010 which restricts pooling

3 Revoke Reg 122 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010, which has spawned at least eight cases in the less than five years since coming into force, in an area which was practically devoid of litigation. The cases are now even stopping planning authorities from recovering their legal costs, which in an area where the consultation acknowledges there is “limited legal capacity” is counter-intuitive.

4 Make the presumptions of due execution apply expressly to s.106 agreements and expand the rules on searches and priority periods so that they apply to s.106 agreements

5 Revoke that part of the Planning Inspectorate’s guidance on s.106s which discourages the use of counterparts; they considerably speed up the entirely uncontroversial task of executing and completing s.106s

6 Allow s.106 agreements to contract out of the requirement that all persons deriving title are bound by the agreement. It cannot be right always to make all successors liable.

7 Follow and enforce the long-standing policy advice to use conditions rather than s.106 agreements unless the matter cannot be addressed by a condition

8 Encourage applicants to appeal where a s.106 agreement cannot be agreed or is delayed. They are reluctant to do so because they fear the Secretary of State will open up areas of the planning application they have agreed with the local planning authority. But a well prepared application should have little to fear on that issue

9 Use twin-tracking positively – the practice of appealing while simultaneously negotiating a settlement of the dispute has fallen out of favour; planning authorities have seen as having a gun to their head. But it is no different from ordinary dispute resolution, where the parties can compromise up to the door of the court.

10 Recognise that s.106 agreements are complicated – fund and equip planning departments and their legal departments accordingly

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