Planning Portal

PPS 1: General Principles
Development Control: Planning Agreements

62. Article 40 of the 1991 Planning Order empowers the Department to enter into an agreement with any person who has an estate in land, for the purpose of facilitating, regulating or restricting the development or use of the land. Such agreements, which are normally tied to a planning permission, are binding on future owners or occupiers of the land. They may include provisions of a financial character. If there is a choice between imposing planning conditions and entering into a planning agreement, the Department will normally opt for conditions since they are simpler to administer and are subject to appeal. The Department will not make a practice of re-stating, in planning agreements, conditions attached to planning permissions because to do so would entail duplication and frustrate the right of applicants to appeal.  
63. Before entering into a planning agreement, the Department will wish to be satisfied that it provides an acceptable means of overcoming the particular obstacles to development. An agreement does not, in itself, confer planning permission nor does it determine the outcome of a related application. An agreement must be signed before planning permission is granted.
64. The Department will seek planning agreements only where the benefit sought is related to the development and necessary to the grant of permission.Unacceptable development will not be permitted because of unrelated benefits offered by the applicant nor will acceptable development be refused permission simply because the applicant is unable or unwilling to offer such unrelated benefits. Planning agreements can apply to land, roads or buildings other than those covered by the planning permission provided there is a direct relationship between the two. Agreements will not be sought where this connection does not exist or is too remote to be considered reasonable.
65. The Department regards it as reasonable to seek planning agreements where what is required:
  • is needed to enable the development to go ahead; or
  • will contribute to meeting the cost of providing necessary facilities in the near future; or
  • is otherwise so directly related to the proposed development and to the use of the land after its completion, that the development ought not to be permitted without it; or
  • is designed to secure an acceptable balance of uses; or
  • is designed to secure the implementation of development plan policies in respect of a particular area or type of development; or
  • is intended to offset the loss of or impact on any amenity or resource present on the site prior to development.
66. A developer will be expected to pay for, or contribute to the cost of, infrastructure that would not have been necessary but for the development.  However, the size of any such payment will be fairly and directly related to, and will not exceed, the benefit that the proposed development will derive from the facilities to be provided. Developers will not normally be required by means of planning agreements to pay commuted maintenance sums for facilities that will become assets vested in the Department.
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