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Planning obligations

Planning obligations are legal documents that require developers to undertake certain works or make financial contributions in order to mitigate the impacts of the development proposed. Planning obligations are most commonly used on residential developments where the proposed new dwellings will lead to additional demands on affordable housing open space, protected landscapes, education provision and other local infrastructure. All new developments must address the likely obligations relevant to the scale of development proposed. Most commonly, these obligations are met through a Unilateral Undertaking. However, for more complex applications, a Section 106 (S106) agreement is required.

Unilateral undertakings - How much will it cost?

Affordable housing

The thresholds (number of homes on a scheme) where affordable housing can be required are established in a combination of National Planning Guidance  and Local Planning Policy and vary by location. Our adopted Local Plan policy on affordable housing requires contributions to be sought from all sites, unless Government Guidance indicates otherwise.

In May 2016 the Government revised the online Planning Practice Guidance. This states that tariff contributions should not be sought from developments of 10-units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than 1000sqm. However in designated rural areas, local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5-units.

Affordable housing contributions will still be required for residential developments over these thresholds in size but these will be secured through a negotiated Section 106 agreement. There is therefore no longer a need to submit a Unilateral Undertaking with an application instead we will advise you of the requirements as part of the application process.

Open space

Historically we have required applicants to submit a unilateral undertaking for open space provision to meet the needs for open space arising from the proposed development. Recent changes in legislation mean that it is not now possible to secure such contributions from schemes of 10 units or less in the towns of Exmouth, Honiton, Seaton and Sidmouth and 5 units or less elsewhere. Open space contributions will still be required for residential developments over these thresholds in size but these will be secured through a negotiated Section 106 agreement. There is therefore no longer a need to submit a Unilateral Undertaking with an application instead we will advise you of the requirements as part of the application process.

Habitat mitigation

Please note that from 1st September 2016 these contributions will be covered by Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Any application determined on or after that date will not require a UU to secure this contribution.

Despite changes in legislation, contributions for habitat mitigation are still required as development that will impact on a protected habitat cannot proceed under an EU directive unless fully mitigated. Evidence shows that all new dwellings within 10 kilometres of the Exe Estuary and/or the Pebblebed Heaths Special Protection Areas (SPA's) will have a significant effect on protected habitats and hence a mitigation contribution is required for all new dwellings.

The charges for habitat mitigation are made up of two components. These are the on-site mitigation measures which will be provided to mitigate the recreational impacts arising from new developments on the Exe Estuary and/or the Pebblebed Heaths, and a separate element towards the provision of Suitable Alternative Natural Green spaces (SANG’s). The charges are therefore formulated as follows:

Zone

Charge for On-Site Measures

Charge For SANGs

Total Charge Per New Dwelling

Exe Estuary Only

£123

£477

£600

Pebblebed Heaths Only

£149

£477

£626

Exe Estuary and Pebblebed Heaths

£272

£477

£749

View our map to see whether your site lies within 10 kilometres of the SPA boundaries.

What do I need to send in?

When you submit your draft undertaking, you'll have to make sure you've included all the relevant documentation. You'll need to return the following documents:

  • One original, signed undertaking;
  • A cheque for £50, made payable to East Devon District Council, to cover registration costs.

To make a general enquiry, we would need you to provide:

  • The application site address;
  • The number of additional dwellings (including property house types and proposed number of bedrooms created), and;
  • If you have one, your Land Registry DN number.

Please email planninguu@eastdevon.gov.uk the above information to the Council, and we will provide you with an accurate costing and the appropriate Unilateral Undertaking template.

Please note that we will require a completed Unilateral Undertaking securing any necessary Open Space and/or Habitat contribution in order to validate and start considering an application.