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Architects steer clear of Section 106 talks

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I take strong issue with Brian Waters' statement that 'it is the architect who is usually regarded as responsible for seeing that the negotiations and terms of an agreement are well considered and consistent with the client's development objectives' (AJ 27.3.03).

I have nearly 30 years' experience as a planner, during which time I have been involved with the preparation of a large number of Section 106 agreements, including three years spent working for Bracknell Forest Borough Council doing nothing but negotiating Section 52 agreements (as they were). As a consultant planner, I also work with a number of architectural practices on a range of projects for a range of clients.

In all that time, I have met very few architects who have been directly involved in Section 106 negotiations. Indeed, in my experience, most architects have very little idea as to what they are about and are quite content to leave them to those who do.

While it is necessary sometimes to bring in specialist expertise in relation to other disciplines, for example, highways issues, negotiations are usually dealt with on the applicant's side by the client, the planner and the solicitor; the precise nature and extent of the input from each of those three varying from case to case, depending on the nature of the matters to be included in the agreement.

We have a part-time colleague who for 10 years was the planning solicitor for one of our local district councils. She also had considerable experience of preparing Section 106 agreements and cannot recall conducting such negotiations with an architect once during that time.

Anthony Hawkins, The Bell Cornwell Partnership, Hook, Hampshire

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