Planning Obligation - A Guide to Section 106 and Developer Contributions

Representation ID: 363

Received: 12/01/2010

Respondent: Essex Police

Representation Summary:

New Developments
The Police Authority will seek formula based contributions from development schemes in accordance with the thresholds which will be presented to the Planning Committee shortly. The approach has been adopted to ensure there is transparency and consistency in the approach to the calculation of contributions, with the objective of increasing accountability, speed and certainty attaching to the process. The approach follows that advocated in the DCLG Planning Obligations Practice Guidance (July 2006), tested for soundness by Timothy Jones Barrister, LLB (Hons), FCIArb, FRGS, FRSA of No. 5 Fountain Court Chambers, Birmingham, found to be sound, and adopted by various Planning Authorities nationally.

The calculation of contributions follows a formula based approach which applies a cost per new dwelling and unit of business floor space to all development. The nature of planning for new policing infrastructure is such that it is not appropriate to apply a threshold to developments above which a contribution will be required. The methodology proposes that any increase in population within a policing area will have an impact on the ability of the Police Force to deliver an efficient and effective policing service; accordingly it is appropriate to require a proportionate contribution from each new unit of accommodation that has an impact on delivery of the service.

Planned growth will necessitate additional manpower and supporting infrastructure comprising, for example, land & property to maintain an acceptable police staff: floor space ratio, and likewise, sufficient custody space (cells), Neighbourhood Policing Officers and important support functions, located to meet strategic policing needs across the District.

Pooled contributions would be used to fund a range of projects directly arising from the need for additional physical and operational capacity required to deliver the police service to an expanding community. For example:
1. Adaptation and extension of Police Stations; additional accommodation costs arising from replacement facilities serving both town and District.
2. New facilities associated with major development (urban extensions) or major growth points where it is strategically efficient to locate within a new community.
3. Extending, adapting or replacing existing or currently planned Neighbourhood Police facilities where growth affects the police rating of neighbourhoods and resultant resourcing.
4. Increasing the capacity of existing or new accommodation for related County and Force wide functions across the Force area, where needs are generated across several local authority areas and contributions are pooled strategically. (Central functions)
5. Capital requirements of Officer & PCSO / Support Staff recruitment & training, vehicular provision, IT equipment, uniforms, furniture & lockers.

As a consequence it will not be the case that each individual development will give rise to a direct need for a specific item of infrastructure. However, all development will contribute towards a cumulative impact on delivery of the policing service and as such it will be appropriate to pool contributions, in accordance with the advice contained at paragraphs B21-24 of Circular 05/2005 and paragraphs 2.18-2.20 of the DCLG Planning Obligations: Practice Guidance.

Pooled contributions would be used by the Police Authority to provide additional policing infrastructure required to maintain an efficient and effective policing service within the local policing area. This could take a variety of forms ranging from purpose-built new facilities, to extension and adaptation of existing buildings. The particular form of infrastructure provision will differ according to circumstances, but the consistent approach will be to ensure that the standard of service as measured according to ratio of officers and support staff to incidents is maintained across each local policing area. The methodology identifies an acceptable baseline standard for operation of the police service to be maintained in the face of development and population increase.

It is not appropriate therefore to identify specific capital projects within this SPD which would be funded by developer contributions. However the approach ensures that planning obligations would be used only for the funding of capital projects and associated pump-priming expenditure within the Force's operational area, to maintain an efficient and effective service.

In accordance with guidance within Circular 05/05 the Police Authority would be required to ring fence contributions and report to the Local Planning Authority on how monies generated through planning obligations had been used. Any monies not expended within a timescale to be specified within the legal agreement would be returned. A clear audit trail would be established to ensure transparency and clear accountability.

Contributions have been assessed on the basis of providing for additional policing infrastructure needs generated by population growth arising from planned residential and business/commercial developments. Contributions would be used by the Police Authority specifically towards the provision of new and enhanced police infrastructure to support the demands generated by development.

In addition an assessment will be made on a case by case basis for the need for possible enhanced contributions towards other infrastructure such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera's and Airwave communication masts, or where we consider that a particular development will generate a greater demand on policing resources (see note 2 below) / fall outside of the former approach.

Contributions sought may be in-kind and/or financial and may be on-site or off-site depending on the scale of the development and the circumstances of the case. This is supported by Circular 05/05 Annex B Para's. B9 and B15 on Planning Obligations.