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Section 278 agreements

What is a Section 278 agreement?

A Section 278 agreement (or S278) is the section of the Highways Act 1980 that is used when a developer has obtained full planning permission and the layout of the proposed development requires them to modify, alter, or reconstruct the adopted highway. The developer of the land will be required to enter into a legal agreement with the Local Highway Authority (St Helens Borough Council).

The developer should note that it is an offence to carry out any works within the public highway without permission of the Highway Authority and no construction work affecting the highway should commence until a S278 agreement has been completed. 

When an S278 agreement is in place, the developer must operate within a set of terms, conditions, and timescales. It is supported by a cash deposit or institution-backed surety bond that is calculated by the council that may be called upon to complete the works if the developer goes into liquidation or otherwise defaults on their responsibilities as set out within the agreement. 

Prior to the forming of an S278, the developer will have to complete a series of technical checks to ensure that the scheme complies with the council's design criteria.  

S278 agreements are often entered into alongside Section 38 agreements (or S38) when a developer proposes to construct a new road for residential, industrial or general purpose traffic that may be offered to the council for adoption as a highway maintained at the public expense. Further information on S38 agreements