Section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings

What are section 106 agreements and unilateral undertakings?

Section 106 Agreements (S106) and Unilateral Undertakings are types of planning obligation authorised by Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. They are legal agreements between the Local Planning Authority and applicant / developer that aim to balance the extra pressure created by new development with improvements to ensure that the new development makes a positive contribution to the local area and community. 

An obligation can restrict the development or use of land, require specific operations or activities to be carried out on land, require land to be used in a certain way or require the payment of financial contributions.

Types of obligation commonly include affordable housing; provision, enhancement and maintenance of open spaces and recreational facilities; play equipment; art provision; cycleways; highways; travel plans and education.

Only a minority of planning applications need a planning obligation before planning permission is granted. As S106 agreements are associated with a particular development and are a legal charge on the land, their obligations transfer automatically with any change in ownership.