A developer in Surrey has recently been reminded of the importance of making sure that the planning authority has counted their s.106 contributions.
The Planning Inspectorate refused the Written Reps Appeal for a single dwelling in Surrey, on the basis that the Council had received more than five contributions towards its proposed ecological mitigation project.
As a result, the Inspector had to disregard the contribution. Unfortunately, the contribution was necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms and without it permission for the scheme could not be granted.
Not all Councils have complete records of the number of s.106 contributions they have received; or what they have been used for. Due diligence on this point is crucial, if you are to avoid being in the same position as the poor applicant in this case.
If in doubt, it is worth considering identifying a wholly new project for your contributions, so as to be sure you are the first payment into the pool!
The erection of a single dwelling in Surrey could not be permitted, an inspector held, because a planning obligation which made a contribution towards mitigating the impact on the Thames Basin Heaths special protection area had to be disregarded because it breached regulation 123(3) of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2015. The regulation restricted the pooling of more than five planning obligations towards any infrastructure project and the submitted obligation sought to make improvements to an area of suitable alternative natural greenspace. The problem, however, was that the council already had secured more than five pooled contributions towards the improvements and consequently the inspector could not take into account that now planned by the appellant. In the absence of suitable mitigation the scheme would harm the special protection area.