Discharge of planning conditions
Rather than refusing a planning application, a planning authority might grant permission, but with attached planning conditions. Some conditions may require approval by the planning authority before development commences (such as agreeing the colour of materials), others can be discharged during the course of development (for example limits to site operating hours).
Conditions imposed on a planning permissions are set out in the decision notice. The nature of conditions varies depending on the nature of the development and should be tailored to deal with specific issues rather than standardised or used to impose unnecessary controls. The National Planning Policy Framework states that planning conditions should only be imposed where they are ‘necessary, 'relevant to planning and to the development to be permitted, enforceable, precise and reasonable in all other respects’.
 Methods for discharging a condition
The exact method for applying to discharge a planning condition depends on the local planning authority and therefore consultation with them is advisable. Typically, their website may include a discharge of conditions application form that can be downloaded and submitted or they may advise that application should be made through the planning portal website.
If early consultation takes place with the local planning authority before the application is submitted, or before the planning committee meeting, it may be possible to broadly agree the nature of conditions that the planning committee are likely to impose and the method of discharge.
It is necessary for an applicant to pay a fee to the local planning authority when they apply for:
- Written confirmation that conditions have been discharged.
- Written confirmation that one or more of the conditions has been completed.
More information on fees is available from the Planning Practice Guidance website. Typically, a fee of £97 (or £28 for householder planning permission) is payable per submission to discharge the requirements of a planning condition.
For straightforward cases a response to an application to discharge planning conditions should be given within 21 days. This includes situations in which the condition requires third party consultation for discharge. Planning authorities must provide notice of their decision within 8 weeks from the date the request was submitted. If after 12 weeks, no extension of time is agreed for discharging the condition, the fee must be returned to the applicant, along with a decision.
 Failure to comply
All conditions attached to a planning decision must be complied with, and failure to do so could lead to planning enforcement action being undertaken against the applicant or could lead to the invalidation of the planning permission.
 Deemed discharge
In April 2015, the deemed discharge of planning conditions was introduced into the Town and County Planning Act 1990 by the Infrastructure Act 2015. Details of the provisions are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015.
This allows certain types of planning conditions in England to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within the prescribed time period. This is intended to improve the use of planning conditions and enable development to start more quickly after planning permission is granted.
See Deemed discharge of planning conditions for more information.
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Consultation process.
- Deemed discharge of planning conditions.
- Detailed planning application.
- Outline planning application.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Planning permission.
- Planning appeal.
- Planning enforcement.
- Planning fees.
- Planning objection.
- Planning obligation.
- Viability test.
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