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Compliance with planning and listed building conditions

Decisions issued by the Local Planning Authority nearly always include conditions.  There are many types and these need to be considered carefully. Failure to comply with the conditions can in some cases lead to the development becoming unlawful and result in the need for a new application and potentially risking that further permissions may not be given.

Some conditions will require specific actions to be undertaken and potentially in a specific order, for example tree protection during development prior to other development starting.

Some conditions will impose ongoing requirements that need to be complied in perpetuity, for example opening hours for shops or removal of rights to extend a dwelling in the future without further permission.

Some conditions will require further approval from the Local Planning Authority, for example agreement of specific materials to be used in the development.

Will conditions on planning permissions affect future purchasers of the land?

Unless the permission otherwise states, planning permission runs with the land and any conditions imposed on the permission will bind future owners.

What options are available to an owner who does not wish to comply with a condition?

Following the decision of a local planning authority to grant planning permission subject to conditions, a developer may consider taking the following actions if they do not wish to be subject to a condition:

Some or all of the conditions could be removed or changed by making an application to the local planning authority under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  In deciding an application under section 73, the local planning authority must only consider the disputed condition/s that are the subject of the application – it is not a complete re-consideration of the application. A local planning authority decision to refuse an application under section 73 can be appealed to the Secretary of State, who will also only consider the condition/s in question.

It should be noted that the original planning permission will continue to exist whatever the outcome of the application under section 73.  To assist with clarity, decision notices for the grant of planning permission under section 73 should also repeat the relevant conditions from the original planning permission, unless they have already been discharged. In granting permission under section 73 the local planning authority may also impose new conditions – provided the conditions do not materially alter the development that was subject to the original permission and are conditions which could have been imposed on the earlier planning permission.

Appeal to the Secretary of State against the decision of the local planning authority to grant planning permission subject to conditions.  An appeal must be received within 12 weeks of the date on the decision notice for householder planning applications or 6 months for other planning decision types.  A Planning Inspector on behalf of the Secretary of State will re-determine the whole application (not only the decision to impose the conditions) – so there is a risk that the Inspector could refuse planning permission and therefore reverse the decision of the local planning authority.

Development that is taken forward in breach of the conditions may be subject to local authority enforcement action and may be regarded as unlawful.  It is also possible to apply for retrospective planning permission under section 73A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. 

How can a developer seek to discharge conditions attached to a planning permission that require local planning authority approval of further details?

Requests for approval of further details required by conditions must be made to the local planning authority in writing, enclosing any relevant details.  Forms are available to help. 

Is there a fee payable to a local planning authority to discharge a planning condition?

The local planning authority will charge an application fee for written requests for both:

  1. Written confirmation of the discharge of conditions
  2. Written confirmation that one or more of the conditions imposed on a grant of planning permission have been satisfied
  3. The fee must be paid when the request is made, and cannot be paid retrospectively