S278 Agreement Plc

For cases where a highway system requires developers to offer land under their control to be considered a highway, please read section 38 agreements. In Birmingham, we normally use s278 agreements to allow developers to employ a road contractor and for that contractor to work on the existing public motorway in the same way as if we, the motorway, were carrying out work. The client is responsible for all aspects of the work on the public road, from the design to the supervision of the construction and the guarantee that the work will be completed to our satisfaction. S278 can be used for other purposes. For example, a tenant`s administrative organization (TMO) may want the traffic on their estate to be calmed down, but streets are public roads and not under their control. S278 would allow the TMO to finance the work to be carried out by the motorway authority – formal agreements will be used to ensure transparency. A Section 278 (or s278) agreement is a section of the Highways Act 1980 that allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the Council (in our capacity as road authority) to make permanent modifications or improvements to a public highway as part of a planning permission. The established legal principle is that a motorway authority cannot inappropriately refuse an agreement concluded under S278 to prevent planned construction, which can create tensions, particularly in non-uniform situations where a motorway authority has contradicted a construction application and is expected to take into account motorway changes. For the most part, the issue of « public benefits » has already been tested at the planning application stage, although motorway works must be an integral part of the system. The famous case in which this was tested is known as the « Powergen case », which can be read on swarb.co.uk/regina-v-warwickshire-county-council-ex-parte-powergen-plc-qbd-9-jan-1997/. It is essentially a formal agreement between a motorway authority and another party to make changes to an existing motorway where it is beneficial to the public and whether in whole or in part (as stated in the agreement) at the expense of the other party. The stretch is a bit more complicated, but most people will come up against this law, which involves modifying highways to introduce new development, and the changes are part of a planning permit (often subject to detailed design considerations).

S278 also allows you to pay a sum for maintenance work in progress, called a « pendulum sum ». S278 agreements normally contain a bond or cash deposit to cover the costs of the work, should the other party be in default in some way, which would allow the motorway authority to intervene and complete the work at no public cost (or, in some cases, to redevelop the motorway as it was). If you start working without the necessary permission, we reserve the right to take legal action against you.

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