Heads of Terms | Colchester Borough Council

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Heads of Terms

TEST: Article

Where Development Plan Documents contain policies that give details of planning obligations, we may require a Heads of Terms statement.


  • What are Heads of Terms
  • When they should be set out
  • What the obligations offered might cover
  • Submit Heads of Terms

In order for planning permission to be issued for major developments (defined as 10 dwellings or more, 1,000 square metres floorspace, sites over 1Ha etc) usually a section 106 agreement must be completed.

Where Development Plan Documents contain policies that give details of planning obligation requirements, we may require a statement of the proposed Heads of Terms to be submitted with the application.

You're advised to submit a completed Heads of Terms alongside any pre-application enquiry or planning application so your development can be considered by us and legal services instructed to draft a legal agreement if applicable.

If you don't do this it can result in delays in planning permission whilst Heads of Terms are established or form a reason for refusal.

Read more on the Government's site

When should Heads of terms be set out?

They should be set out within pre-application enquiries.

The objective of pre-application is to review and agree the potential package of contributions and enable a draft Heads of Terms to be submitted as of part of the application.

This enables them to be subject to public consultation as part of the application evaluation and application determination process.

At the latest, they should be set out when an application is submitted to avoid delay, but may be negotiated within the lifetime of an application.

What might the planning obligations offered under the Heads of Terms cover?

Heads of Terms can offer contributions towards any matter that is a planning matter and that would pass the legal tests for planning obligations.

Following the introduction of the CIL Regulations, it is unlawful for a planning obligation to constitute a reason to grant planning permission unless it is:

  • Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms
  • Directly related to the development
  • Fairly and reasonable related in scale and kind to the development

The most common types of contributions include (but aren't limited to):

  • Affordable Housing
  • Open Space
  • Community Facilities
  • Education
  • Highways
  • Healthcare
  • Sustainable transport networks (cycling, walking etc)
  • Biodiversity 

Legal agreements may also offer controls over the detailed nature of uses that can or cannot occur, limitations of the types of goods sold from a premises, or other matters such as access to others, phasing and triggers, review and monitoring arrangements etc.

These can also be set out in the Heads of Terms.

Further Information

Read more about the level of contributions your development would attract and the variety of documents we use when planning for new development in the Borough.

Check Adopted Guidance

View Planning Policy

Read about Section 106

Read about Community Infrastructure Levy

View Developer Contributions


Submit Heads of Terms with your pre-application or planning application.

Heads of Terms template

What happens after Heads of Terms are submitted?

We recommend you submit a pre-application for complex major applications so that key principles can be identified and agreed as early as possible. 

Submit a pre application

If you know you need planning permission, but don't want specific advice.

Apply for planning permission

Documents to go with your Application

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