This letter was received by the Wilts and Glos Standard

Dear Editor

Last week's article (Wilts and Glos, March 21) headlined "Millions of pounds pledged for Cirencester by Chesterton developers" and the comments of Cotswold District Council overlooked the essential purposes of S106 agreements (also known as planning obligations).

Words like "pledge" and "donate" suggests a degree of beneficence by the developer, Bathurst Development Limited, that is not required by the relevant planning act and, contrary to CDC's comments, has not been provided to the wider Cirencester community.

The purpose of planning obligations is to compensate for loss or damage created by a development and to "mitigate" the harm of a development's impact e.g. traffic.

Also to set out the need for affordable housing and schools if extra capacity is necessary.

These planning obligations are necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms which otherwise would not be approved.

Issue must also be taken with Cotswold District council leader, Tony Berry's comment that the obligations will bring enormous benefit to the town.

It is the case that planning obligations must be directly relevant to and related in scale and kind to the development. They are not expressly expected to go further than the development itself and with the exception of a £500,000 contribution to a new car park that will cost council tax payers many millions they do not benefit the town in any meaningful way.

Most people in Cirencester opposed the development and now they dislike being "soft soaped" by a council and developer who have shown hubris throughout.

Patrick Moylan