Enforcement of planning obligations
Enforcement of planning obligations

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcement of planning obligations
  • Who can enforce planning obligations?
  • Who can a planning obligation be enforced against?
  • Successors in title
  • Mortgagees in possession
  • Injunction
  • Debt recovery proceedings
  • Challenging or defending enforcement
  • Repayment of unspent contributions under planning obligations
  • Application of the Limitation Act 1980

If for whatever reason a developer fails to meet its obligations in an agreement entered into or binding on it under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) (referred to as a planning obligation/section 106 agreement), the relevant local planning authority (LPA) can take action to enforce the performance of the obligations in the section 106 agreement, as set out further in this Practice Note.

As soon as a developer realises that it is unable to meet obligations in a section 106 agreement it should liaise with the LPA and seek to discharge or modify the obligation. For example, it could seek to reduce a required contribution or negotiate a later trigger date for payment. See Practice Note: Renegotiating planning obligations.

Where this is not possible, and the developer fails to comply with an obligation in a section 106 agreement, the LPA has discretion in deciding whether, and how, to enforce a planning obligation.

There is a general willingness of the courts to enforce section 106 agreements. As was noted in J A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v South Gloucestershire District Council, planning obligations are usually required as pre-conditions to the grant of planning permission. If a developer has implemented such a planning permission, and has therefore benefitted from it, it is generally perceived as unfair that the developer