Last Autumn, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a consultation paper: Renegotiation of Section 106 planning obligations. The paper was intended to deal with the problem of a high number of stalled schemes in the residential development sector where planning permission had been granted subject to S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1990 requirements, but the permission had not been implemented. The onerous nature of S106 obligations, agreed in times when the property market was more buoyant, was seen as the main reason for many of the schemes stalling.

Acting on that consultation, the Town and Country Planning (Modification and Discharge of Planning Obligations) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/147) (operating by way of an amendment to the Town and Country Planning (Modification and Discharge of Planning Obligations) Regulations 1992) came into force on 28 February 2013.

This provides that from 28 March 2013, applications can be made to the LPA to modify or discharge planning obligations entered into on or before 6 April 2010. The result of these regulations means there is no need to wait for the expiry of the usual five year period from the date of the obligation under section 106A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Planning obligations that were entered into before 28 March 2008 are not within these amending regulations and remain subject to the original rules found in section 106A and the 1992 regulations.

For planning obligations entered into after 6 April 2010, the relevant period continues to be five years.