Discharging Planning Conditions

Planning Landscape

Conditions are often imposed on a planning permission to regulate certain aspects of an approved scheme and are an important factor in the process. Were it not for conditions it is possible that planning permission could have been refused.

Now that your planning application has been approved

Q. What do I need to do now?

A. Check your planning permission carefully to ensure that there are no errors in it. If there are, contact the Development Control Department immediately quoting the reference number and setting out clearly what you think is wrong.

Identify which conditions require you to submit further details or information, and when these have to be complied with. Some conditions may have to be complied with before the development starts, some may regulate how the work is undertaken, others require actions before a building is occupied or a use commences whilst certain conditions will seek to regulate how the completed development is used or control possible changes in the future. Consult with your advisors how best to comply with those conditions.

If you are unhappy about any of the conditions imposed you can lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate but you must do so within 6 months of the date of the decision. Contact the Case Officer who dealt with your scheme if you want to explore this further as any commencement during the appeal process may invalidate the consent.

Q. Which conditions do I need to comply with?

A. All of them.

The first condition will limit the length of time that the permission is valid, if work is not started within that time the permission will lapse.

Before starting work you must discharge (provide the Council with the information required and gain written approval) all conditions that specify ‘prior to commencement details are to be submitted…’ or are similarly worded. These are known as “pre-conditions”. (see later)

Q. Are there any exceptions to the charges?

A. There are exceptions to the charges for requests relating to Listed Building Consent, Conservation Area Consent or if the request would be in respect of a reserved matter (which should be the subject of a reserved matters application). There is also no charge for applications resulting from a condition removing "permitted development rights".

Q. How do I discharge a condition?

A. When applying to discharge a condition ensure that the information, details and/or drawings submitted are comprehensive and meet the condition required. A condition is only discharged where the Council has formally confirmed that this is the case.

The Council will reject applications for condition compliance where the details are inadequate. To understand exactly what is required you should read the condition and reason carefully and in full.

Note: there may be a charge for confirmation that a condition has been discharged. (see later)

Q. When should I submit the information?

A. Do not leave the discharge of conditions until the last moment. Allow adequate time for the Council to respond to your request to discharge conditions, as the Council may need to seek specialist advice. Submitted information should clearly identify the condition number it relates to.

Q. How do I vary an approved scheme?

A. Discharge of conditions does not grant consent to vary the original approved drawings. If you want, or need, to vary the permitted scheme seek the advice of the Council first. A further planning application is required for a variation or removal of a condition.

Q. Where will I get advice on what to submit?

A. The Council can only offer general advice and cannot act as a free consultancy service. You are urged to seek advice from your agent or other specialist where appropriate.

Although you may anticipate the need for the planners to seek a view on the details from another department such as Highways or Environmental Health, you should always direct your condition compliance details to the Case Officer who dealt with the application.

If you consult any other person or agency seeking pre-discharge advice, be advised that until the Council’s Planning Department has been formally notified by you and has subsequently provided written approval of the details concerned, the planning condition is not discharged.

Whilst all pre-conditions are important some have a particular significance such as resolving contaminated land issues, submitting archaeological assessments and the adequate protection of trees. If work starts in the absence of these details having been agreed, irrevocable damage may occur or remedial works could be required that could involve a partial or total demolition of the development. Special care should be taken when dealing with a Listed Building as any works outside the consent or conditions is not just unauthorised but is actually a criminal offence.

Q. What happens if I do not comply?

A. Failure to discharge conditions at the correct time can invalidate a planning permission rendering the site without benefit of consent. Starting work on site without complying with the pre-conditions may render your permission null and void and can lead to enforcement action and possible criminal sanctions.

This would then mean you would have to reapply for planning permission, possibly attracting a further fee and potentially other financial penalties, such as a contribution to a new Section 106 Agreement. It is possible that depending on the planning policy context the development may not be approved a second time round. The delay may also mean that the absence of a formal consent would be declared on any search. Following the correct procedure and complying with all conditions at the right time, within the development process, will satisfactorily answer any search or enquiry by a Solicitor as the file will contain the exchanges of correspondence.

The Council can check if conditions have been discharged and also inspect sites to ensure development is in compliance with the permission granted. Failure to have a valid planning permission by not complying with the approved drawings or planning conditions may have some of the following consequences amongst others:

  • Service of a Temporary Stop Notice – closing down any works on the site
  • Issue of a Breach of Condition Notice
  • Issue of an Enforcement Notice
  • A need to re-submit a full planning application to the Council if the consent is invalidated
  • A record on Land Charges Searches that the development is unauthorised (and possible subject to enforcement action)
  • Potential difficulties in raising funds against or selling of the land or building
  • Prosecution if subsequent enforcement notices are not complied with
  • Undertaking works to a listing building in breach of conditions is a criminal offence

Q. Is a fee payable?

A. There will be a standard charge of £28 for householder developments, and £97 for all other developments, per request.

Q. If I have more than one condition to discharge, will I have to pay a fee for each condition?

A. No, a fee is charged for each “request”. Therefore if you apply for discharge of all conditions at once, you will only be charged one fee. However, if you send in details for each condition separately, these will be counted as separate “requests” and you will have to pay further fees.

Q. How do I make a request for confirmation or compliance with conditions?

A. Requests for confirmation of compliance with conditions should be made by contacting us.

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