New rules for planning conditions

New rules for planning conditions

“New planning rules will come into force on 1 October 2018 that will require Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to engage with applicants before imposing pre-commencement conditions on a planning permission”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

Dinnis explains, “pre-commencement planning conditions are those that prevent works starting until they have been discharged. The inappropriate use of them by LPAs can cause unnecessary delays in the delivery of development and increased costs for applicants. The Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018, however, aim to speed up the planning and development process by discouraging LPAs from seeking unnecessary pre-commencement conditions.”

The new regulations will require LPAs to consult applicants on any pre-commencement conditions and provide that, unless an applicant has previously confirmed acceptance to a condition, the LPA must notify them of its intention to impose a pre-commencement condition. Applicants will then have 10 days to provide a response. LPAs are only able to impose the condition with the written agreement of the applicant or if the notification period has elapsed and no response is provided. If a condition is contested, the LPA may either:

i. grant planning permission without the pre-commencement condition,
ii. seek written agreement to an alternative pre-commencement condition, or
iii. refuse to grant permission if it considers that the disputed pre-commencement condition is necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms”.

“In dealing with notifications applicants should understand that strict tests limit the use of all planning conditions only to cases where they can be demonstrated that they are necessary, relevant to planning, relevant to the development to be permitted, enforceable, precise and reasonable in all other respects. Any proposed condition that fails to satisfy any one of these criteria should not be used. The Government’s planning guidance also states that pre-commencement conditions should only be used where the requirements of the condition are so fundamental to a development that it would otherwise be necessary to refuse planning permission”, advises Dinnis. “Applicants should be aware that where a condition is contested under the new process it will be open to the LPA to refuse permission. If given the choice of accepting a pre-commencement condition or receiving a refusal, a condition is likely to be the more favourable option rather than facing the costs, delays and uncertainty of appealing the refusal on an entire planning application”, adds Dinnis.

For further information on rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 214052 or at briandinnis@acornrpc.co.uk.

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