As the Chancellor flagged up in his budget speech, DCLG's Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain wrote to local planning authorities on 31 March about "Planning for Growth". He made two important points about existing section 106 agreements. The first of these was as expected - that planning obligations should be reviewed where, due to concerns over viability, they are causing projects to stall. A number of developers have opened discussions with planning authorities on this very point and no doubt there will be more.

The second point is a bit more subtle. It was that existing planning obligations should also be reviewed to ensure they meet the policy tests in Circular 5/05 - now largely with statutory force since April 2010 through the CIL Regulations. This is nothing to do with viability - but rather with policy compliance, and it repeats advice given in May 2009.

Given the fact that many section 106 obligations (even with policy backing) fail the tests (and there are some forceful appeal and Secretary of State decisions on this now), if a planning permission is beyond the three-month period for JR, perhaps developers will now start to question planning obligations even where there is no viability issue.