Publication Local Plan, Chapter 7: Planning conditions and obligations

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Requiring new developments to make appropriate contributions to address their impacts, ensuring that they have a positive overall effect on local communities

7.1 Planning conditions and obligations will be used, where required and consistent with national legislation and policy, to ensure that land is utilised in the most appropriate and effective manner, to reduce the negative impacts of developments, and to ensure that developments are integrated and coordinated with their surroundings, contributing to the overall health of the area within which they are situated. In addition, the city council will negotiate with developers to secure additional community and environmental benefits, where appropriate. Whilst the city council will seek opportunities to secure external public funding to assist in the delivery of infrastructure, it will be very important to ensure that the contributions obtained from developers are maximised. The use of conditions and obligations will be consistent with the tests set out in national guidance.

7.2 Priorities for planning obligations may evolve over the plan period, depending on changing circumstances, but those set out in the following policy reflect the anticipated pressures and additional demands associated with the proposed scale and location of development in Salford. More detailed approaches to planning obligations for some of these priorities are set out in other parts of the plan, including requirements from new residential development for affordable housing (policy H4), education places (policy ED2), recreation provision (policy R1), and biodiversity off-setting (policy BG2).

7.3 Planning obligations often have financial implications for developers. In some cases, in the absence of more appropriate alternatives, land may need to be set aside within the development site for the provision of infrastructure such as open space, public realm, and schools. Hence, it will be important to discuss potential planning obligations early on in the development process, to minimise the potential need for scheme re-designs later on and other delays to the planning application process.

7.4 The planning obligation requirements set out within this plan have been subject to a plan-wide viability assessment, and any additional guidance produced by the city council will be similarly informed. As a result, it should not normally be necessary for viability assessments to be submitted with individual planning applications. However, it is recognised that there may be site-specific circumstances where the cumulative effect of policy requirements and planning obligations would compromise development viability for particular schemes, such as where a site requires expensive remediation prior to development. In these instances, an applicant may submit a viability assessment to demonstrate that a lower level of planning obligations would be appropriate in order to enable the development to be delivered. Any subsequent agreement will need to allow for the possibility that viability may turn out to be better than anticipated, and hence ‘clawback’ clauses will be typically be used to ensure that the final planning obligations reflect actual viability. In considering the purchase of land, developers should take into account the costs associated with delivering the necessary policy requirements as well as any site specific issues which may increase development costs, for example contamination or the presence of heritage assets.

7.5 There is a public interest in viability appraisals being available for inspection when these are relied upon to secure planning permission for development that does not deliver the planning obligations required to fully mitigate its impacts. Consequently, in order to provide transparency and maintain public confidence in the planning system, the city council will publish submitted viability appraisals prior to the planning application being determined. Where a developer considers that exceptional circumstances exist that mean that specific details of an assessment should be redacted or withheld, they should clearly set out the circumstances for this to the satisfaction of the city council.

Policy PC1 - Planning conditions and obligations

Development that would have an unacceptable adverse impact, or would result in a material increase in the need or demand for infrastructure, services, facilities and/or maintenance, will only be granted planning permission subject to planning conditions and/or planning obligations that would ensure adequate mitigation measures are put in place.

Where a site is in multiple ownership, it shall be ensured that all developers make a proportionate contribution to any developer contributions required to enable the delivery of the whole site as well as those specific to their individual development.

Artificial splitting of sites

Where there is evidence that a site or a development has been artificially split in order to avoid policy requirements by being below any relevant size/dwelling threshold, the council will consider whether it would be appropriate to apply the policy requirements to each of the smaller sites individually irrespective of their size/number of dwellings in order to secure planning obligations in accordance with this plan. In determining whether separate sites should be aggregated to form a single site for the purposes of applying this policy, the city council will consider: 

  1. Existing and previous land ownership;
  2. Whether the areas of land could be considered to be a single site for planning purposes; and
  3. Whether the development should be treated as a single development. 

The city council will consider each application on the facts as a matter of planning judgement. 

Priorities for the use of planning obligations 

Priorities for planning obligations will include (in no order of prioritisation): 

  1. Transport
  2. Public realm
  3. Open space, sports, allotments and green infrastructure (including as set out in policy R1)
  4. Education (as set out in policy ED2)
  5. Health
  6. Affordable housing (as set out in policy H4)
  7. Biodiversity off-setting (as set out in policy BG2)
  8. Other site-specific contributions

Long term maintenance

Where new or improved open space, green infrastructure or public realm is secured, appropriate provision for its long-term maintenance will also be required. 

Reduced planning obligations 

Development will be permitted with reduced planning obligations compared to policy requirements only where: 

  1. The applicant has submitted a viability appraisal that is based upon and refers back to the viability assessment that has informed this plan, and provides evidence of what has changed since then;
  2. The value of the planning obligations has been maximised having regard to likely viability;
  3. A clawback mechanism has been incorporated into a legal agreement, where appropriate, to ensure that additional mitigation is provided if final development viability is better than anticipated in the viability assessment; and
  4. The benefits of the development outweigh the lack of full mitigation for its impacts, having regard to other material considerations.

The price paid for land is not a relevant justification for failing to accord with relevant policies in this plan and any planning obligation requirements set out in a supplementary planning document. Landowners and site purchasers should consider this when agreeing land transactions.

Where a viability appraisal is submitted by an applicant in order to justify a reduced contribution, it and any revisions to it will be published prior to the determination of the planning application unless there are exceptional circumstances. Where such exceptional circumstances exist, an executive summary that includes sufficient information to enable the public to fully understand the main inputs and conclusions of the appraisal must be provided and published.

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