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The importance of planning conditions

We regularly receive enquiries from clients who have commenced or finished a development, but forgotten to ‘discharge’ pre-commencement conditions.  It would seem that people are too busy celebrating the grant of planning permission, and miss the important attached conditions.

Always thoroughly check a decision notice before commencing the development. They often start with the phrase ‘prior to the commencement of development’ or ‘prior to occupation’.

Common pre-commencement conditions that must be discharged include:

  • Landscaping schemes;
  • Parking arrangements;
  • Construction materials.

Discharging a condition used to be a relatively straightforward process that involved little more than emailing the case officer with the required details.  These days the process is more formal and involves an application form and accompanying documents/plans with the prescribed fee (£25 for householder applications and £85 all others).  You can however, discharge numerous conditions with one fee payment.

Due to the formal nature of the process, it is even more important to ensure that you have adhered to your planning permission and discharged the relevant conditions.  These conditions can seem onerous and confusing but are often more simple than they appear.

Section 73 application

Sometimes Councils go over the top and attach too many unnecessary conditions to a permission. In such cases it is possible to apply to remove or vary the conditions. This is commonly called a section 73 application.

You may have grounds for a s73 application if the conditions are not considered to be:

  1. necessary;
  2. relevant to planning;
  3. relevant to the development to be permitted;
  4. enforceable;
  5. precise; and
  6. reasonable in all other respects

To ensure your development is lawful and you avoid the threat of enforcement please do not ignore the conditions placed upon your planning application.  Contact one of our consultants who will be happy to assist you with the whole process.