Off Site Highway Improvements and the Section 278 Agreement
Following the grant of planning permission there will normally be a series of planning conditions attached to the development that must be discharged prior to either commencement of construction or the occupation of the development.
Highway works are often addressed in principle only in the Transport Assessment or the Architect’s design for the development and typical conditions require, for example, the submission of detailed construction plans and specifications for the highway works, parking or service areas, or other infrastructure such as new bus stops and shelters, to facilitate access by sustainable modes of transport.
Delivery of Off-Site Highway Improvements
Where the traffic impact of the development is such that off-site highway improvements are needed, the means by which this is achieved is usually via an agreement with the Local Highway Authority under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980. This legal agreement allows alteration to the public highway where there is benefit to the public and the works are required to enable the development to proceed.
After initial discussions with the Local Highway Authority, the Highway Engineer proceeds with the detailed design of the works, to provide a package of construction drawings and specifications for the works, which once approved by the Highway Authority, will allow both costing and construction to take place. These plans are usually provided to the Local Planning Authority for approval as part of the discharge of planning conditions, and the works are normally implemented and completed before the development is brought into use. It is however quite normal for such designs to have been investigated by the Highway Engineer during the Post Planning Submission process to enable the client to be fully aware of the likely development costs that are involved.
Section 278 Agreement
Where the traffic impact of the development is such that off-site highway improvements are needed, the means by which this is achieved is via a legal agreement with the Local Highway Authority. Whilst there are different Sections of the Highways Act under which these works can be completed, the one most preferred by Highway Authorities is Section 278. This legal agreement (Section 278 Agreement) allows alteration to the public highway only when there are benefits to the public associated with the improvement works.
A bond is usually required by the Highway Authority to cover for the possibility of default by the developer should they not compete the works, which then allows the Highway Authority to utilise the bond to implement the works themselves instead.
The responsibility for the majority of roads lies with Local Highway Authorities. However where the strategic road network is affected, the responsibility falls to the ‘Secretary of State for Transport’ via National Highways.
The strategic highway network typically includes all Motorways and Trunk Roads, and the junctions that connect them to the wider highway network.
After initial discussions with National Highways or the Local Highway Authority, the Highway Engineer proceeds with the detailed design of the works, to provide a package of construction drawings and specifications for the works, which once approved by the Highway Authority will allow both costing and construction to take place. These plans are usually provided to the Local Planning Authority for approval as part of the discharge of planning conditions and the works are normally implemented and completed before the development is brought into use.
The Highway Engineer also usually contacts all the statutory undertakers (Telecom, Cable, Electric etc.) in the area of the off-site works to identify any apparatus that may require diversion, protection or strengthening and obtains a costing and lead in times for the works to be carried out. Should major statutory undertakers works be required then a redesign may well be considered to avoid impacting on the statutory undertakers apparatus thereby reducing the costs of the works.
What Our Clients Say:
Swept Path Analysis and Visibility Drawing incorporated into a Technical Note, Proposed Residential Dwelling, Colchester.
Highway Statement, Proposed Residential Development, Stockport
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