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What is the process of discharging planning conditions?

It is very common when a planning application is ‘Approved’, that this is permitted with a number of conditions attached to the application requiring further details, for example, samples of materials. This additional information must be submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) for formal agreement, known as ‘discharge of conditions’.

It’s the responsibility of the applicant or any subsequent developer, to ensure that the terms of all conditions are met in full.  The conditions will outline specific points in the development when details should be submitted to the LPA for approval.

Requests for approval of further details required by conditions must be made to the LPA in writing, enclosing any relevant details. The LPA will charge an application fee*  for written requests for both:

  • written confirmation of the discharge of conditions
  • written confirmation that one or more of the conditions imposed on a grant of planning permission have been satisfied.

The LPA should respond to requests to discharge conditions without delay and must give notice to the applicant of its decision within a period of 8 weeks, beginning with the day immediately following that on which the application is received, or any longer period agreed in writing between the applicant and LPA.

There are essentially three basic types of conditions:

  1. Performance conditions; these do not need to be formally discharged
  2. Pre-commencement conditions; these must be complied with before development is started
  3. Pre-occupancy conditions; These need to be formally discharged prior to the development being occupied

Pre-commencement conditions

A pre-commencement condition is defined in section 100ZA(8) as a condition imposed on a grant of planning permission (other than a grant of outline planning permission within the meaning of section 92 of the 1990 Act) which must be complied with:

  • (a) before any building or operation comprised in the development is begun, or
  • (b) where the development consists of a material change of use of any buildings or other land, before the change of use is begun.

Summary

The steps to be followed for discharging planning conditions are:

  • A written application is sent to the LPA and the correct application fee is paid
  • A decision on the submission is usually made within 8 weeks of submission
  • The formal decision is on a decision notice
  • The decision notice will list the approved documents (if applicable) or it will explain why the application was refused (if applicable)
  • The decision notice will be posted on the LPA’s website
  • A copy of the decision notice will be emailed to the applicant.

* online fee calculation (Planning Portal)

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