Planning Obligations (S.106 Agreements)

Planning Obligations under Section 106 Legal Agreements.

What are Section 106 agreements?

They are legal agreements between Local Authorities and developers which are linked to a planning permission. They are also referred to as planning gain, planning benefits, community benefits or planning obligations. Each agreement is associated with a particular development and as they are a legal charge on the land, they transfer automatically with any change in ownership.

When and what will the Council seek in a S.106 agreement?

These agreements are drawn up when it is considered that a development will have negative impacts on the local area that can't be mitigated by means of conditions attached to the planning permission. For example, a new residential development can place additional pressure on the social, physical and economic infrastructure which already exists in the surrounding area. Planning obligations aim to balance the extra pressure created by new development with improvements to the surrounding area to ensure that wherever possible a development makes a positive contribution to the local area and community.

Exemption for Small Sites under 10 units?

In line with a ministerial statement on small sites, the Council will not seek an affordable housing contribution (on site or financial sum in lieu) or other general tariffs on housing proposals under 10 units and where the gross floorspace of the dwellings is under 1000 sq m. This follows a government challenge in the High Court and is an update on the previous position before May 2016.

What type of planning obligations can the Council ask for?

Planning obligations can deliver real benefits to the community living around the development site. However, the use of planning obligations is strictly governed by the basic premise that planning permission may not be bought or sold. Central Government guidance on planning obligations agreed through Section.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is given in the National Planning Policy Framework, articles 203 to 206, which states that planning obligations should only be sought where they meet all of the following tests:

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

Areas which could attract potential obligations include:

  • Affordable Housing provision;
  • Primary and Secondary Education provision;
  • Creation, maintenance and adoption of open spaces and recreational facilities;
  • Provision or adoption of new highways and public rights of way;
  • Travel Plans: and
  • Other obligations necessary to make a permission acceptable in planning terms.

Planning Obligations arising from the Council's Local Plan

Mendip District Council's Local Plan sets out the Council's policies and proposals for development and the use of land in its area. The Local Plan also sets out why and when planning obligations may be required in order to ensure that a development proposal is in accordance with the Local Plan. Local Plan policies that may give rise to planning obligations include:

  • Affordable Housing - Local Plan Policy DP11.
    Planning obligations can secure an appropriate level of affordable housing, or an offsite contribution in lieu, in accordance with Policy DP11). 
  • Affordable Housing Rural Exception Schemes - Local Plan Policy DP12.  
    Development consisting of affordable housing may be provided, on small sites where residential  development would not otherwise be permitted, within or adjoining the development limits of a village, to meet local need in rural areas where the need cannot be reasonably be met within the development limits of village (Rural Exception Schemes).  Permission for this type of development will be subject to S106 planning obligations securing the affordable status of the dwelling.
  • Education Provision - Local Plan Policy DP19.
    Where a proposal for residential development will directly generate a need for educational infrastructure that cannot be met from existing or programmed resources, a planning obligation will be sought to make good the shortfall.  The extent of the obligation will be determined by Somerset County Council.  Developments of more than 50 dwellings will usually give rise to a requirement for a financial education contribution from a developer.  However, Somerset County Council could reasonably seek contributions from developments below this 50-dwelling threshold if there are already pressures on a particular school. 
  • Open Space and Green Infrastructure - Local Plan Policy DP16.
    This policy provides that all new residential development will make a contribution towards the provision of new open space, including accessible natural greenspace, to meet the needs of the growing population.  The contribution will either take the form of on-site provision or a financial contribution toward off-site provision or enhancements.  The extent of this contribution (for planning obligations negotiated in 2017-18) is currently calculated by applying a figure of £1,364.20 per dwelling.  This figure will be reviewed and subject to indexation on 31st March of each year. 
  • Travel Plans - Local Plan Policy DP9.
    Where appropriate, development proposals must demonstrate how they will improve or maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport (particularly by means other than the private car), and shall include, where relevant, the submission of Travel Plans and/or Transport Assessments where a development involves significant movements.  The County Council will be the relevant authority in respect of travel plan planning obligations.  Travel plans will be secured by a S106 planning obligation or planning condition based on Somerset County Council's published Travel Plan guidance.

Obligation Type

Local Plan Policy

Affordable Housing

DP11 & DP19

Rural Housing




Open Space

DP16 & DP19

Travel Plans

DP9 & DP19

General Planning Obligations Policy


Legal and Monitoring Fees

Mendip District Council's Planning Service is committed to providing a high quality and efficient service to applicants seeking planning permission, and also to the local community affected by any such permission. The Council therefore charges a Legal Fee for the preparation, checking and production of S106 Agreements and Undertakings, and a Monitoring Fee for the each obligation contained therein. These fees are included in the S.106 Agreement or Undertaking and become payable in the period after granting of the planning permission and prior to the formal completion of the Agreement or Undertaking.

For further information please email the Section 106 Monitoring Officer at

Section 106 Funds Available For Spend (26/10/2018) Icon for pdf S106 Contributions 26.10.18 [207.15KB]