Recent guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government (previously the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) encourages local authorities to ensure that planning obligations are used to improve infrastructure and to support affordable housing where possible.
The guidance recommends that authorities start negotiations with developers early in the planning process (before a planning application is made) and use standard agreements where possible. Also, the authority should consider monitoring the development, to ensure that planning obligations are met, and should involve independent experts where appropriate.
The principal aim behind the guidance is to streamline the planning process and make it more compliant with the timetable applicable to planning applications. As part of this process it is recommended that contribution calculations should be made open and transparent.