What is a planning obligation?

A planning obligation is either a deed of agreement or a unilateral undertaking made under planning legislation, in association with a planning permission for new development.

It normally applies to aspects of a development that cannot be controlled by imposing a planning condition or by use of other statutory controls. Without it the planning permission could not be granted.

Planning obligations are legally binding and enforceable if planning permission is granted. They can cover almost any relevant issue such as of types of infrastructure or services.

Is my application liable for planning obligations?

Development which requires planning permission may be liable for planning obligations where it can be demonstrated that such obligations are:

  • necessary (to make a proposal acceptable in planning terms),
  • directly related to the proposed development,
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development.

Specific thresholds for planning obligations for on-site requirements are set out in section one of Cherwell District’s Draft SPD. A tariff, or standard charge type approach, for addressing the cumulative infrastructure implications of development, is set out in section two.

Section 106 Agreements and Unilateral Undertakings

Planning obligations can be secured through either a Section 106 Agreement or a Unilateral Undertaking, depending on the nature of the development. Further information on these processes is set out within Cherwell District’s Draft SPD.