Obtaining a planning permission should not be viewed as the end of your involvement with the Planning Department. Rather this should be viewed as a further step in the ongoing development process.
Conditions are often imposed to regulate certain aspects of an approved scheme and are an essential element in the process. They can be applied to the grant of planning permission as well as other permissions such as Advertisement Consent, Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent in order to limit and control the way in which they are implemented.
What conditions need to be discharged?
Once your application has been approved you will need to check your permission and identify which conditions require you to submit further details or information and when these have to be complied with. Some conditions must be complied with before a development is started, some regulate how the work is undertaken, whilst certain conditions regulate how the completed development is to be used or control possible changes in the future.
You may need to consult with your agent and/or the Planning Department to advise you on what action you need to take to ensure you comply with those conditions.
The first condition on a decision notice usually limits the length of time that a permission is valid for. This is normally a period of 3 years during which if development is not commenced, the permission will lapse.
Before starting work you must comply (that is provide the Council with the information required and gain written approval) with all conditions that specify 'prior to commencement details are to be submitted...’ or are similarly worded. These can also be known as "pre-commencement conditions" or “pre-conditions”. These usually relate to the specific details of materials to be used, landscaping plans, archaeological recordings, historic environment recording amongst other things. These are the types of conditions that must formally be discharged.
How do I make a request to discharge a condition?
In order to discharge conditions you will need to submit an application to the Local Planning Authority along with the payment of a statutory fee. Applications can be made in writing by letter, on the standard paper form (below) or through the Planning Portal’s online application system. You should ensure that the information submitted is comprehensive and meets the condition requirement and the submitted information clearly identifies the condition number it relates to.
When will I find out if my conditions have been discharged?
Provided that the application is validly made it should be determined by the Local Planning Authority within 8 weeks. If you commence the development without having received written approval, you do so at your own risk and it could result in enforcement action. If a response is not received within 12 weeks, the fee can be refunded. If any part of an application is refused, subsequent applications will be subject to a further application fee.
If I have more than one condition to discharge, will I have to pay a fee for each condition?
You can apply to discharge more than one condition at a time as long as you make it clear in your application which conditions you are applying for to be discharged. A fee is payable for each discharge of condition application. Therefore, if you put all the conditions that need to be discharged in one application, only one fee is payable. However, if you choose to apply to discharge the conditions at different times then you must pay for each application. This procedure must be followed for both Listed Building and Conservation Area Consents however there is no fee for these applications.
Each requests for confirmation that one or more planning conditions have been complied with are as follows (VAT is not payable on fees set by central government):
- Householder permissions - £28 per application
- Other permissions - £97 per application
What happens if I do not discharge my conditions?
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 consult third parties or seek specialist advice.
Failure to discharge conditions at the correct time can invalidate a planning permission rendering the site without the benefit of consent.
Special care should be taken when dealing with a Listed Building as any works outside the consent or conditions are not just unauthorised but criminal for which you, your builder and your agent can be prosecuted.