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Discharge of Conditions

Including the variation and removal of conditions and section 73

What are planning conditions?

Planning conditions are added when local planning authorities grant planning permission for development. They add constraints, requiring that certain things are done or not done by the person implementing the development, in order to make it acceptable.

Whilst it is possible to apply to vary planning conditions or even to appeal against them, it is useful to discuss the wording of with the planning officer prior to determination. This ensures that they are appropriate and achievable. Careful discussions can reap substantial rewards in reducing the burden of bureaucracy in the discharge of planning conditions, facilitating earlier construction starts.

Planning Legal Agreements (Section 106 Agreements, Planning Gain & Unilateral Undertakings) 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, Plande can facilitate these agreements to reduce the cost burden or to negotiate a more favourable outcome or terms. Early negotiations assist to develop successful outcomes.


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What are planning conditions used for?

Planning conditions are used for several reasons, including the implementation or building of a development. Typical conditions specify the start of development within a certain time period (for example within three years from the date of approval). They may require development to be carried out in accordance with certain materials or relevant drawings. These conditions (or other legal agreements) can also be added to require contributions, by action or monies paid towards improving local highways, education provision, open space or other facilities.

Some planning conditions have ongoing requirements, often in perpetuity. For example, to restrict permitted development rights, limit the use of a building, or preventing/requiring changes, including certain features or elements that must remain in place throughout the life of the development.


Improve your chances of success by understanding planning conditions

Further Uses

Planning conditions are also used to require further information to be approved. The wording of conditions varies and may require information to be approved by the local planning authority before any development commences.  For example, before works above ground level commence or before the occupation of the development. The wording of conditions is critical. It may specify when the information is required,  whether it builds on assumptions made within the application, whether it presents new information or if it requires further consultation (for example in relation to highways, land contamination or ecological matters).

Before any planning application is decided it can be beneficial to agree on the need and specific wording of planning conditions. Plande can prevent certain conditions from being added by justifying that they are not needed or appropriate. We can provide relevant information before the application is determined, which may prevent a discharge of a planning condition application from being required. We can agree on the specific wording of a planning condition which can save time and money.

What is planning condition discharge?

Where planning permission contains planning conditions that require further approvals, a formal application to the council is required. Such discharge of planning conditions applications requires the completion of a planning conditions discharge form. This is submitted along with a fee and any relevant information. Applications may require the submission of supporting information, including reports, drawings and in some cases actual physical samples of proposed building materials, depending upon the nature of relevant planning conditions.

Often, approvals will have several conditions that require the discharge of planning conditions. It may be preferable to submit multiple applications, dealing with conditions individually, or a single discharge of planning condition application covering all applications.

Not all planning conditions will need to be discharged. This depends on the wording and requirements. Careful consideration will be required to ensure development can be lawfully implemented, completed and occupied. Errors made in failing to deal with the relevant planning conditions can cause delays and can even invalidate planning permission.

At Plande, we deal with submitting discharge of planning conditions applications. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.


How long do planning conditions take to discharge?

Planning conditions can take 8 weeks to determine unless an extension is agreed with the local planning authority. This can delay construction works on site, particularly where some information may not be ready until close to when construction commences. Time can be saved by providing the information before any planning application is approved. Professional advice is recommended to ensure the conditions can be worded correctly at the time of any approval, as well as to ensure the submitted information is appropriate and suitable.

Since April 2015, as well as the option to appeal against the failure to determine such applications, certain types of discharge of condition applications can be dealt with under the ‘deemed discharge provisions’. This needs to be served on the LPA giving a certain period of time for them to respond. If they don’t respond in time then the conditions are effectively agreed upon. Certain planning conditions don’t benefit from this option and appropriate advice should be sought accordingly.


What is a variation of condition application?

Where a developer disagrees with or wants to change a planning condition added to any approval, a ‘variation of condition’ application can be made. Such variation applications are made where requirements are added to conditions. For example, the passage of time, where they are not relevant or appropriate anymore, where developers want to alter an approved scheme, or where the LPA have added conditions. These could be where they were not agreed before or have subsequently become unsatisfactory.

Can planning conditions be removed – how do I remove a planning condition?

It may be possible to remove a planning condition by submitting a ‘removal of condition’ application. It carries similar issues as the ‘variation of condition’ application above. A ‘removal of condition’ application may be required or advantageous, to enable the development or to prevent ongoing restrictions.

Examples of such removal of conditions could be to prevent permitted development restrictions or restrictions of certain operations or activities.

Section 73 Planning Applications

Section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows for applications to be submitted for the removal or variation of a condition following the grant of planning permission. Such provisions shouldn’t be confused with the process of approving planning conditions (see discharging planning conditions above). There are certain aspects that can’t be dealt with under a Section 73 application, including but not limited to the description of development.

See also our page on non-material amendments and minor material amendments


Disclaimer: 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. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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