“We continue to be busy on behalf of clients who are seeking to modify or remove Section 106 planning agreements”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“Many planning agreements were made a long time ago and pre-date the current policy framework of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Planning Practice Guidance All planning obligations must meet three statutory tests which are that they must be (a) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; (b) directly related to the development; and (c) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. In addition, the NPPF is clear that planning agreements should only be used where it is not possible to address unacceptable impacts through a planning condition.” explains Sanders.
“One of the most common circumstances where we see planning agreements that do not meet the current policy tests is in respect of agricultural dwellings that are tied to the land that was used in the farm business when planning consent was granted, as well as being subject to an agricultural occupancy condition. There have been appeal decisions where planning inspectors have recognised that the imposition of S106 obligations tying agricultural units can inappropriately affect the value of holdings and the ability of farmers to buy and sell land and that they can be unreasonably onerous in the running of agricultural businesses. Most Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have therefore now accepted that restricting the occupancy of the dwelling by planning conditions is sufficient and that seeking to impose a Section 106 agreement does not meet the statutory tests. That opens the door for an application to the LPA under Section 106A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to modify or discharge existing planning agreements”, continues Sanders
Sanders advises that one of the pre-requirements to being able to make an application under Section 106A is that the planning agreement must have been in place for at least five years.
For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380.