Planning Obligations (policy documents and guidance)

Planning obligations are legal obligations entered into to mitigate the impacts of a development proposal. Find out more and read our FAQs here

Applicants for planning permission are encouraged to read the Governments guidance themselves.

Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (TBH SPA) and Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM)

As of 1 April 2007any applications received for

  • (a) new dwelling(s)
  • change of use of a property to residential
  • the subdivision of a property to create new dwellings
  • and/or any combination of the above

Which is within the TBH SPA Zone of Influence (roughly within 5km of Chobham Common) will still require a scheme for the mitigation of the effects of the development on the TBH SPA and will also be required to contribute towards the SAMM. You are advised to read the Council's TBH SPA policy documents.

Thames Basin Heath SPA

The Council, to assist applicants in providing a scheme for the mitigation of the effects of the development on the TBHSPA the applicant/developer in such cases has two options:

1.   The first is to provide, lay out and ensure the maintenance of, in perpetuity, of a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG). The physical provision of SANG is likely only to be suitable for schemes of in excess of 60 dwellings due to the need to meet Natural England's guidelines for SANGs. The achievement of this is likely to be through the mechanism of a Planning Obligation under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1990 (as amended).

2.   The second is to enter into a planning obligation, for an appropriate financial sum, with the Council to utilise part of one of the Council's SANGs in mitigation.  This will be secured by way of submission of the S106 Unilateral Undertaking agreement.

Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM)

The S106 Unilateral Undertaking agreement also secures the SAMM contribution.

Please Note that from the 15th April 2021 the Council will be changing from a dwelling based contribution to SANG & SAMM to an occupancy based contribution. This is to bring Runnymede in line with other authority areas affected by the SPA.

The cost of SANG will be £903.5 per occupant and SAMM £360 per occupant. Further detail can be found in the Council's Thames Basin Heaths SPA SPD at

The Council has prepared a calculator in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which applicants can use to convert dwelling numbers into occupants and calculate the SANG and SAMM contribution required. A copy of the calculator is available to download below.

Icon for excel SANG/SAMM Occupancy and Contributions Calculator [14.17KB]

Unilateral Undertaking (S106) proforma

The Council has provided, to assist applicants, a pro-forma template which can be used and submitted with the application.

For applications involving 9 or less net additional dwellings or prior approval applications, the pro-forma template below should be completed by applicants. A printed copy of the completed SANG/SAMM calculator must be attached to the S106 Unilateral Undertaking.

The Calculator will also be used to guide SANG/SAMM contributions for applications involving 10 or more net additional dwellings where the Council enters into S106 agreements. The Unilateral Undertaking template pro-forma below can also be used for applications involving 10 or more net additional dwellings where a SANG/SAMM contribution will be the only planning obligation secured by the Council.

Icon for worddocuments Unilateral Undertaking Proforma (SANGS and SAMMS) [56.45KB]

S106 Unilateral Undertaking

We are unable to accept any alterations or additions to this template document and this includes the time period for payment of the contributions. This pro-forma has been designed so that applicants do not have to pay the Council's Legal costs in preparing agreements for these matters. The pro-forma should be downloaded and edited in the boxes shown, only original copies downloaded from this website may be used and therefore we cannot accept re-typed versions of this document. Electronic submissions/copies of the pro forma are not acceptable as an original signed document is required to be submitted.

More information on the SANG can be found at: Natural Environment (policy documents and guidance)

SANGS condition (applications submitted prior to 1 September 2019)

Any applications which have a condition requiring a scheme of mitigation in relation to SANGS will require a Discharge of Condition form and the appropriate discharge of condition fee along with either:

  • the SANGS Consent [117KB] (completed and sent in hard copy to the Council)
  • or details of the physical provision re SANGS mitigation

Planning Obligations - frequently asked questions

From 1 December 2014 how will Runnymede Borough Council calculate the 'Vacant Building Credit' to developments that are required to provide affordable housing?

Local Planning Authorities are now guided to apply affordable housing contributions only on the net increase in floorspace.

Runnymede BC will therefore apply the 40% Local Plan requirement to the total number of residential units proposed and then reduce that requirement by a percentage equivalent to the percentage increase of floorspace (GIA). E.g. If 75% of the proposed floorspace is already existing (as vacant buildings) then only 25% of the Local Plan derived calculated affordable housing provision will be sought.

Planning Permission is sought for a development of 200 houses, with a proposed floorspace of 30,000 sqm on a site currently occupied by 10,000 sqm of vacant buildings.
The Runnymede Local Plan requires 40% of new houses on this site to be Affordable, ie. a provision of 80 units.
33.33% (10,000sqm) of the proposed floorspace (30,000 sqm) is already existing (as vacant buildings) and therefore only 66.66% of the provision (80) will be sought.  Therefore the requirement of affordable housing would be 66.66% of 80, 53 affordable units.

When does an existing building qualify as a 'Vacant Building' in respect of the 'Vacant Building Credit'?

A building is considered 'Vacant' in respect of the 'Vacant Building Credit' if at the time planning application is determined the building does not have a lawful occupier or tenant. Applicants may wish to provide, as part of their application, evidence to the Council relating to the occupancy of the buildings at the intended date of determination to assist the calculation of the 'Vacant Building Credit'.

What is the 'Vacant Building Credit' in respect of affordable housing contributions?

All applications for 15 or more (net) residential units are required to make a contribution to affordable housing equivalent to 40% of the new housing in accordance with the Local Plan. This is done through the provision of dwellings on site, or in exceptional circumstances through financial or other contributions. In any case the amount to be provided will, from 1 December, now have deducted from that calculated provision a 'credit' equivalent to the gross internal floorspace of any existing vacant building brought back into use or demolished as part of the scheme.

From 1 December 2014 what is 'The Threshold' below which Runnymede BC will not seek contributions to local infrastructure or affordable housing.

The Council will no longer be requiring contributions to infrastructure for sites of 1 - 10 proposed dwellings, as long as the total cumulative gross internal floorspace of the proposed development is also below 1,000 sqm. Contributions for the Thames Basin Heath SPA and SAMM will still be necessary in all relevant cases and the Council's proforma Unilateral Undertaking has been updated to reflect this. The tariff calculator is still available to view on line for schemes proposing 11 or more dwellings.

How does the Government Guidance changes of 28 November 2014 regarding planning obligations apply to my current planning application?

Relevant applications that have not yet been determined will be assessed under the new guidance, and on small scale sites where the planning infrastructure tariff was previously necessary, it may no longer be required. If you have submitted a relevant application recently, whether or not it is valid, your Case Officer will be contacting you shortly to discuss the new guidance.