What are planning obligations?

    Planning obligations (also known as Section 106 Agreements) are legal agreements negotiated between developers and the local planning authority. They are intended to mitigate or offset the negative impacts of a development or to prescribe the nature of a development.

    Planning obligations can be financial (i.e. a payment made to the Council) or non-financial (e.g. affordable housing, affordable workspace and carbon emission reduction).

    Planning obligations have to meet the Regulation 122 statutory tests where they must be:

    • Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
    • Directly related to the development
    • Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development

    What does the Planning Obligations SPD cover and what is its purpose?

    The Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is a guidance document which explains the council’s approach to using planning obligations. The SPD sets out the circumstances under which planning obligations will be sought.

    The SPD provides additional guidance on matters covered in the Tower Hamlets Local Plan (2020) and is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. 

    Why is the Planning Obligations SPD being updated?

    The Tower Hamlets Local Plan (2020) and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule have both recently been updated.

    The Planning Obligations SPD needs to be reviewed and updated so that it aligns with these documents and provides appropriate guidance on how developer contributions will deliver site-specific mitigation and meet infrastructure requirements

    Once it has been adopted, the draft SPD will replace the previous Planning Obligations SPD that was passed in 2016. 

    Who should read it?

    The SPD has been prepared to provide advice to developers, landowners, residents and other stakeholders on the Borough’s position regarding the use of Section 106 planning obligations.

    The SPD and associated documents can be accessed from the document library panel on this page, at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall and at Idea Stores and libraries in the borough. 

    How do I provide feedback?

    Two rounds of public consultation are being held on the draft Planning Obligations SPD. Consultation on the first draft of the SPD took place from Friday 13 March until Sunday 24th May.  Consultation on the second draft of the SPD is taking place from 5pm on Thursday 8 October until Thursday 19 November.

    You can provide feedback by:

    Filling out the online survey on this page.

    Emailing your comments to Infrastructure.Planning@towerhamlets.gov.uk

    What happened to feedback provided on the first draft of the SPD?

    All feedback received on the first draft of the SPD has been reviewed and collated in the Consultation Statement. The Statement sets out the SPD topic that each piece of feedback relates to along with the council’s response.

    The Consultation Statement also specifies whether a change has been made to the second draft of the SPD as a result of the feedback. Updates are shown as track changes in the second draft of the SPD.

    What will happen after consultation on the second draft of the SPD?

    Following the end of the consultation on the second draft all feedback received will be reviewed and considered. Where/if appropriate updates will be made to the SPD. Feedback will again be collated into a Consultation Statement which outlines the council’s response.    

    This final draft will then go through the council process to be adopted. Once adopted, it will replace the Planning Obligations SPD 2016.