Pre-Commencement Planning Conditions

5th June, 2018 by Natasha in General

Pre-commencement planning conditions are quite common when planning permission is granted.  They can vary dependent upon the site and development proposal but will normally relate to the materials and construction of the building plus mitigating matters such as landscaping and access.

The developer needs to apply for these conditions to be discharged via an application before development can lawfully commence.  A fee is payable.

The Local Planning Authority (LPA) must give notice to the applicant of its decision within a period of 8 weeks from the date the request was received, or any longer period agreed in writing between the applicant and LPA. If no extension of time is agreed for discharging the conditions after 12 weeks, the LPA must return the fee to the applicant without further delay along with a decision.

There is a procedure of notifying the LPA with a ‘Deemed Discharge Notice’.  Deemed discharge of conditions, or condition, takes place if no response is received by the specified date within the notice. This doesn’t apply to all types of applications such as conditions relating to Environmental Impact Assessments.  Therefore it can have limited use and may force a LPA to refuse an application discharging conditions. 

If no application is made to discharge the conditions, the development can be considered unlawful and at risk of enforcement action.

There are some forthcoming changes to note.  The Government have announced that changes to pre-commencement planning conditions will be coming into force on 1st October 2018. 

LPAs, or the Secretary of State, will have to give notice to applicants that they intend to grant permission subject to pre-commencement conditions.

The notice must include:-

a)    the text of the proposed pre-commencement condition;
b)    the full reasons for the proposed condition, set out clearly and precisely;
c)    the full reasons for the proposed condition being a pre-commencement condition, set out clearly and precisely; and 
d)    notice that any substantive response must be received by the Authority, or as the case may be, the Secretary of State, no later than the last of the period of 10 working days beginning with the day after the date on which the notice is given.

If no substantive response is received from the applicant within the specified time period then a decision can be issued with the conditions.

A planning permission can be determined prior to the period set out in (d) above provided the LPA, or Secretary of State if relevant, receives:- 

a)    a substantive response, or
b)    written agreement to the terms of the proposed pre-commencement condition.

Entering into further discussion regarding any proposed pre-commencement conditions could of course delay a decision on the planning permission. 

We recommend to anyone considering buying land or property, or developing an existing property that you study the planning consent in detail.

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