Draft Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document

Ended on the 19 January 2023
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2. Policy Background

A. National Policy Context

2.1. The statutory framework for planning obligations is set out in Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended.

2.2. Paragraphs 55 to 58 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published in July 2021 and Regulations 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations 2010 (as amended) set out the Government's policies on planning obligations.

2.3. The NPPF advises that planning authorities should consider the use of planning obligations where they could make an otherwise unacceptable development acceptable. They should only be used where it is not possible to address unacceptable impacts through planning conditions.

2.4. The CIL Regulation 122 sets out what a planning obligation can constitute and paragraph 57 of the NPPF re-iterates that planning obligations should only be sought where they meet all the following tests:

  1. necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  2. directly related to the development; and
  3. fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

2.5. Previously, under the CIL Regulations introduced in 2010, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) were not able to pool more than five planning obligations together towards a single piece of infrastructure or infrastructure 'pot'. However, the government recognised issues associated with this restriction and removed the pooling restriction via the 2019 amendments to the CIL regulations.

B. Corporate Objectives

2.6. The Corporate Strategy 2020-2025 sets out five priority areas for Brentwood Borough Council:

  1. Growing our economy
  2. Protecting our environment
  3. Developing our communities
  4. Improving housing
  5. Delivering an efficient and effective council

2.7. The provision of planning obligations, through this SPD, seeks to address the above priorities, particularly the first four.

C. Brentwood Local Plan 2016-2033

2.8. Development proposals should be considered in line with the Brentwood Local Plan 2016 – 2033 (the Local Plan). Proposals which require planning obligations should be considered in accordance with the relevant policies.

2.9. The overarching reasoning and justification for requiring planning obligations are set out in the relevant Local Plan policies, in particular:

  1. Strategic Policy MG05: Developer Contributions
  2. Strategic Policy BE08: Strategic Transport Infrastructure
  3. Policy BE12: Mitigating the Transport Impacts of Development
  4. Strategic Policy HP01: Housing Mix
  5. Policy HP04: Specialist Accommodation
  6. Policy HP05: Affordable Housing
  7. Policy PC05: Brentwood Town Centre
  8. Policy PC11: Education Facilities
  9. Policy NE02: Green and Blue Infrastructure
  10. Policy NE05: Open Space and Recreation Provision
  11. Strategic Policy NE08: Air Quality
  12. Strategic Policy NE09: Flood Risk

2.10. In addition, site specific policies in Chapter 9 set out the amount and type of development provided within each site allocation, as well as what specific supporting infrastructure and other requirements are needed for each site.

2.11. Other policies within the Local Plan provide specific and detailed justification for various types of planning obligations and will be referred to in the relevant sections of this SPD.

2.12. The Local Plan must be read as a whole when considering development proposals.

D. Infrastructure Delivery Plan

2.13. The Brentwood Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been undertaken to provide the Council with the understanding of infrastructure deficit in the context of planned growth and inform the Brentwood Local Plan 2016 – 2033. The IDP Part B (Schedule) provides a list of required infrastructure to deliver Brentwood's growth over the Plan period. Information on the indicative phasing, costing, delivery mechanism, priority ranking, and relevant site allocations of identified infrastructure can also be found in Part B.

2.14. The IDP by its very nature is a 'snapshot in time' as the information provided by infrastructure providers will naturally date and alter over time, reflecting changing needs. Therefore, the IDP should be viewed as a 'live document' and information should be treated as indicative rather than prescriptive. The Council will keep the IDP under review and update it where information becomes available. Applicants should refer to the latest version of the IDP, available on the Council's website.

2.15. Although the IDP does not form part of the development plan, its latest version will be a material consideration when determining planning application against Policy MG05: Developer Contributions of the Local Plan.

E. CIL

2.16. The Council is currently preparing a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). In May 2022, it launched the CIL Viability Assessment Stakeholder Workshop and invited comments on the draft Viability Assessment. This work informed the final draft charging schedule, which was published for public consultation from the 12 October to 9 November 2022. The Council is aware of the proposed changes to CIL (and indeed to the system of S106 obligations generally) in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, however the final outcome of these proposed changes is unknown at present. The Council will continue monitoring the progress of the Bill and take appropriate actions as required.

2.17. In considering appropriate CIL rates, the Council has taken into account development viability and contribution requirements from site allocations. It is envisaged that there would be no unacceptable financial burden on landowners/ developers as a result of CIL introduction.

F. Two-tier Local Government System

2.18. The Council operates within a two-tier local government system. Essex County Council (ECC) has a statutory role as the highway and transportation authority, appropriate local authority for education, minerals and waste planning authority (MWPA), lead local flood authority (LLFA), lead advisors on public health, the provision of libraries and adult social care. As such, if a planning obligation is sought for contributions covering these matters, then ECC should be party to the Section 106 (S106) agreement.

2.19. An overriding principle regarding infrastructure contributions is that applicants are expected to contribute to the infrastructure that is required to mitigate their developments, as well as cumulative impacts, and any other developments benefitting from the infrastructure should contribute towards it. It should not be for the public purse to fund these necessary mitigation measures and there should be no financial risk for the Council or Infrastructure providers such as Essex County Council.

G. Other Statutory Bodies

2.20. Statutory bodies and organisations will be consulted on relevant planning applications[1] and the Council will give significant weight to the advice of the key statutory consultees on specialist technical issues where it may have limited expertise. In some cases, the statutory consultees may request planning contributions and the S106 agreements may involve them. The statutory consultees include (but not limit to):

  1. Environment Agency;
  2. Natural England;
  3. Historic England;
  4. National Highways (NH). In Brentwood, NH is the highways authority responsible for the strategic road network including the M25 Junctions 28 and 29, and Lower Thames Crossing;
  5. Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) which is an NHS body covering Brentwood Borough under a new partnership between the organisations that meet health and care needs (the Integrated Care System) across mid and south Essex.

2.21. A full list of statutory consultees on applications for planning permission is set out in the Planning Practice Guidance[2].

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