Customer guide to completing Planning Obligations (Section 106 Agreements and Unilateral Undertakings)
Search for planning obligations
You can search, view and download Planning Obligations (Section 106 Agreements and Unilateral Undertakings) for free online using the original development site address and planning permission reference in the link below and then clicking on the ‘Planning Obligation’ link under the documents tab in the search results screen. If you do not have the associated planning application reference number and are unable to locate it using the online facility you can visit the First Stop Shop, Darwall Street, to view historic plotting sheets on the available public computers:
You may wish to use the online interactive map to assist in identifying the relevant development site address or planning permission reference number using the following link. If you do not have the associated planning application reference number and are unable to locate it using the online facility you can visit the First Stop Shop, Darwall Street, to view historic plotting sheets on the available public computers:
You can arrange to view the planning files at our First Stop Shop, Darwall Street, Walsall:
A minimum of 24 hours’ notice to view a file is required for viewing any application. Additional time may be necessary if the file is in the archive or in use by a case officer.
Requests should include the following details:
- Anticipated time of arrival at reception
- Contact phone number and / or email address
- Reference numbers of the files being requested
Requests can only be made for files by reference number, not solely on an address.
File reference numbers can be obtained from the public computers in the Civic Centre reception. These computers will allow access to all the files reference numbers including those on the historical plotting sheets which have not been digitised. Unfortunately, this information is currently not available on the internet for home viewing.
A total of 6 files may be requested per day for each request.
Compliance with Section 106
Please note that the Council would usually seek compliance with the obligations from the developer/landowner or their successor in title and it is unlikely that the Council would pursue enforcement of any non-compliance against individual homeowners or occupiers.
Frequently asked questions
A list of frequently asked questions is available on our S106 FAQ web page.
Section 106 Reports
Full details of secured, collected and due to section 106 contributions and affordable housing provision are set out in quarterly and annual reports available in the following link.
What is Section 106?
A Section 106 Agreement is a legal agreement between the Planning Authority and the applicant/developer and any others that may have an interest in the land.
In a limited number of cases, where only the applicant needs to be bound by a planning obligation and not the Planning Authority, instead of agreeing obligations through the standard process of discussion (negotiation and agreement) it may be acceptable and advantageous for the developer to make a unilateral offer or “unilateral undertaking” to the Planning Authority to settle obligations relevant to their planning application.
"Section 106 Agreements" and "Unilateral Undertakings" are types of Planning Obligation authorised by Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 Section 12. The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 also sets out restrictions on the use of Planning Obligations.
Planning Obligations are used following the granting of planning permission (normally major developments) to secure community infrastructure to meet the needs of residents in new developments and/or to mitigate the impact of new developments upon existing community facilities. They can also be used to restrict the development or use of the land in a specified way or require specific operations or activities to be carried out on the land.
Benefits will be secured either in kind or via financial contributions depending on what is required. Some of the most common issues that arise are explained in and controlled by our adopted SPD’s (explained below). The main topic areas to benefit are Affordable Housing, Primary and Secondary Education, Urban Open Space, Highways Improvements and Healthcare. This list is not exhaustive and any other relevant and necessary matter may be included within a Planning Obligation that can not be secured through the normal planning process but is required in order for the development to be deemed acceptable in planning terms which would otherwise be refused.
Each development is judged on its own merits, however, there are certain requirements that apply to most major applications. You can view our adopted Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD’s) which detail how we calculate the requirements, the adopted Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and Black Country Core Strategy by clicking on the following links.
How are Section 106 Contributions Spent?
Financial contributions sought through S106 are collected by the Local Planning Authority and transferred to the necessary service area to spend in accordance with the terms set out in each legally binding agreement. The expenditure details for some of the most frequently sought contributions such as education and open space are set out in reports to Planning Committee on a quarterly basis and can be viewed in the link below:
S106 contributions cannot usually be given to community groups as 'grants' towards certain projects but the Council may, in some cases, work in partnership with Community Groups to help spend the contributions on the specific project(s) set out in each Section 106. This would be at the discretion of each responsible spending service area and related enquiries should be made to these service areas.
What is Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)?
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge that will be payable by developers when they begin construction of new buildings following the granting of planning permission. It is to be used to pay for new infrastructure such as roads, open space, schools and health facilities and is intended to replace most financial contributions that are currently paid in response to planning obligations (“section 106 agreements”). CIL will be payable for a wider range of new development at set rates, rather than being negotiated on a site by site basis as is the case with planning obligations. CIL is therefore intended to provide greater certainty for developers, as well as spreading the cost of paying for new infrastructure more fairly over a wider range of development schemes.
The amount payable (in £/square metres) is set by each local authority. Before introducing CIL, the authority must issue a “charging schedule” that sets out the chargeable amounts. This amount can vary across the authority’s area, for example because of different land values, as well as between different land uses and size of development. The amount charged must have regard to the actual and expected costs of infrastructure, the economic viability of development and what other sources of funding might be available for particular types of infrastructure. Find out more by visiting our CIL page using link below: