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Section 13 Agreements

Section 13 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1999 relates to ‘Agreements regulating development of land’, and states; 

(1) The Department may enter into an agreement with any person interested in land for the purpose of restricting or regulating the development or use of the land, either permanently or during such period as may be prescribed by the agreement; and any such agreement may contain such incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions of a financial character) as appear to the Department to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the agreement. 

(2) Nothing in this section or in any agreement made thereunder shall be construed –

(a) as restricting exercise, in relation to land which is the subject of any such agreement, of any powers exercisable by the Department or any other authority under this Act; or

(b) as requiring the exercise of any such powers otherwise than as mentioned in paragraph (a) above 

Where the Department may wish to obligate a developer and commit them to an undertaking as part of a planning approval, it may tie the applicant to a formal legal agreement to ensure and guarantee such compliance. In these instances without a legal agreement the planning application would be refused. 

The requirement for a formal legal agreement under this section of the Act can be for whatever obligation the Department may specify in order to support any approval of the planning application as proposed.

Where it is established that any approval must be supported by a legal obligation and an agreement is required, the applicant will be made aware as early as possible in the assessment of the application, if not already aware through any pre application advice. Early notice will allow the agreement content to be negotiated during the assessment period of the application in anticipation of a hopefully positive decision. This negotiation will eventually require legal representation on the part of the applicant.

Any determination, where a Planning Officer has made recommendation for an approval dependent on a legal agreement, will be made by the Planning Committee at a public meeting.

Should the Planning Committee support the Officer’s recommendation it may delegate the final decision to the Director or Head of Development Management AFTER the legal agreement has been concluded and formally executed.

Legal costs incurred by the Department, chargeable against it by the Attorney Generals Chambers, will be passed on to the applicant and must be remitted prior to the concluding endorsement being applied to the agreement as signatory on behalf of DEFA.

The application of these charges will apply to all planning applications submitted after July 13 2015 and are chargeable at £250 per agreement. This fee may increase in accordance with the hours undertaken in concluding the agreement. Where variation to an agreement may be required, for whatever reason, but no planning application necessary, the charging of legal costs will arise on variations required AFTER January 1 2016. Again these charges will be passed on to and be payable by the applicant prior to the Deed of variation being signed on behalf of DEFA.

Once an agreement has been executed by all parties it will be passed back to the applicant for formal record and public scrutiny in the Deeds Registry, Deemster's Walk, Douglas. The costs for formally recoding the agreement must be met by the applicant.

The planning decision notice to approve an application will only be issued once the agreement has been satisfactorily concluded.

Legal agreements under Section 13 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1999 may be required for securing an obligation for the provision of:

  • Affordable housing
  • public open space: or
  • an obligation based upon and unusual to the merits of the application as presented

Whilst draft agreements in the form of a 'template' may be obtained by contacting the Department, should such sample be required it must be noted that all agreements will vary in form from one application/obligation to the next.

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