Planning Conditions – Discharge, Variation and Removal of

The complexity of the planning system today means that the best outcomes are achieved by appointing an experienced and knowledgeable consultant or planning agent to discuss, monitor and negotiate both at the pre-app (pre-application) stage and throughout the planning application process. Often these negotiations can save a substantial amount of time and allow the applications to be determined within the statutory eight week period.

Whilst it is possible to apply to vary planning conditions or even to appeal against planning conditions, it is often very useful to discuss the wording of planning conditions with the planning officer prior to planning committee determination to ensure the planning conditions are appropriate, not onerous and achievable. Careful discussions can reap substantial rewards in reducing the burden of bureaucracy in the discharge of planning conditions, facilitating earlier construction starts etc.

Planning Legal Agreements (Section 106 Agreements, Planning Gain, Unilateral Undertakings etc) are also now a fact of life with many, specifically larger, planning approvals. As experienced Planning Consultants with a good working relationship with many Local Planning Authorities, we can facilitate these agreements to reduce the cost burden or to negotiate a more favourable outcome or terms. Early negotiations assist to develop clear successful outcomes.

Discharge of Planning Conditions

The following case studies provide a small sample of the different types of planning conditions projects (discharge, variation or removal of) we have been involved with.

Variation of planning conditions planning appeal

Appeal against Planning Approval subject to Onerous Planning Conditions – North East

Outline Planning approval was granted, following protracted planning negotiations, for a substantial 160 bedroom extension to an existing hotel in the North East of England, subject to a number of planning conditions that were felt to be onerous, including placing restrictions on the site that had not been there before the planning approval and in relation to the protection of the adjoining Green Belt. The conditions also placed unnecessary control on the construction method of working as well as on the height of development.

A written representation planning appeal was submitted which successfully argued each point and prevented substantial costs and limitations of the future reserved matters application and construction phase.

The planning inspector commented that the proposed planning conditions were not necessary, not reasonable, misleading and did not meet the tests required for planning conditions, including that of precision and clarity.

Local Planning Authority: Newcastle City Council

see also: Variation/ Removal of Planning Conditions; Green Belt; C1 Hotels; Outline Planning Application

Variation of Planning Conditions for D1 Use

Change of Use from Residential Dwelling to Commercial Training Centre, Altrincham, Cheshire

Following the expiration of a temporary approval, we secured a permanent planning approval for the change of use of a terraced house into a D1 training centre contrary to planning policies and with several objections to the proposals. Approvals also sought to amend the restrictive opening hours and other onerous planning conditions to the original approval.

Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

see also: D1 Training Centre; C3 Dwellinghouse

Removal of Condition restricting use

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use as a self contained dwelling, Stretford, Greater Manchester.

Our clients had obtained planning approval for a change of use of a garage into a Granny Annex.

During construction works the existing garage was demolished and the new building was constructed in a different location to the approved drawings, meaning in effect all works were unlawful and no planning approval existed. The building also didn’t comply with several planning conditions including the limitation of the use a Granny Annex. We successfully argued, via a Lawful Development Certificate, not only, for the retention of the unlawful building but to allow for the building to be allowed to continue to be a self contained dwelling.

NB. A robust justification with appropriate evidence is required to prove “on the balance of probabilities”.

Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

Planning Conditions heart of the permission

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use, Bury, Greater Manchester.

The site had received planning approval in 1979 for over 140 apartments in several blocks. Research and analysis of the site suggested that various works had commenced at the time. A Lawful Development Certificate application was submitted and was successful determined.

Whilst there were several planning conditions on the original approval that required discharging, we successfully argued that these did not go “to the heart of the permission” and therefore did not prevent a lawful start on site.

Local Planning Authority: Bury Council

Planning Conditions backland development

Challenge of planning conditions – Self build house on backland site, South Manchester

Planning permission had been sought on the backland site on three separate occasions, with two earlier planning appeals rejected. The proposals sought to develop a single new build dwelling on garden land to the rear of numerous dwellings in a suburban setting. The refused planning application was subject to strong neighbour objections and was unanimously refused by the planning committee on several grounds including the living conditions of the neighbouring properties, especially in relation to the increased vehicular and pedestrian activity. A further planning refusal reason was that emergency vehicles would be hindered in case of a fire at the property.

The subsequent grounds of appeal document methodically resolved each item of concern, specifically including third party additional material to support the issues and robustly justifying the proposals in planning policy and supplementary guidance terms.

The Local Planning Authority had also proposed, that should the appeal be allowed that several planning conditions be added, including the removal of permitted development rights. Our arguments, supported by the Planning Inspector concluded that these would not be “necessary or reasonable”.

The Planning Inspector concluded that the proposals would not be contrary to planning policy, would have no harm on neighbouring properties (amenity, noise and disturbance), and following us obtaining approval from the local fire department, that there was no issue in relation to emergency vehicles. As such the appeal was allowed, overturning the original refused planning permission.

Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

see also: Backland & Tandem Plotsplanning appeals; garden land; 

Removal of Condition Application

Removal of planning conditions; restriction of highways access


Local Planning Authority: Bassetlaw District Council



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This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon.
The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ.
Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out.