Planning conditions

Planning and building control

When approving an application for planning permission, listed building consent or advertisement consent, the Government says that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) may attach ‘such conditions as they think fit’ to enhance the quality of the development and mitigate any adverse effects of the development. 

As the Local Planning Authority, we follow the Government’s guidance, which states planning conditions should be kept to a minimum and should only imposed where they are necessary and relevant to planning. They must also be enforceable, precise and reasonable.

Examples of conditions we may attach

When we grant planning permission, we usually attach conditions.

These are:

  • time limit: almost all permissions have a condition that says the development must be started within a specific timeframe
  • plans and other information: this will usually be a list of plan numbers and document names

The only kind of permission that never has conditions is a Lawful Development Certificate - this link will take you to the Planning Portal.

Conditions can also be attached that require the submission of additional details for us to approve. For example:

  • details of materials that the development is going to be built in (bricks, windows, doors, roofing material)
  • details of refuse and recycling facilities that will be provided
  • details of cycle storage and/or car parking
  • details of landscaping
  • details of ventilation systems for a cafe or restaurant

Conditions may be attached that:

  • restrict opening hours
  • restrict the hours of deliveries
  • restrict the use of the premises

The more information that can be provided with an application, the less likely it will be that planning conditions requiring the submission of additional information will need to be imposed.

'Informatives' may be added to a permission to advise an applicant of issues which may be relevant. For example, reminding you that building regulations still need to be complied with or that a license may be required.

A pre-commencement condition is one which must be complied with in either of these situations:

  • before any building or operation which is part of the development is begun
  • where the development consists of a material change of use of any buildings or other land, before the change of use is begun

We try to keep the number of conditions, and in particular pre-commencement conditions, to a minimum, so as not to prohibit work starting after planning permission has been granted. In some cases, we need to attach pre-commencement conditions where the requirements of the condition (including the timing of compliance) are so fundamental that it would have been otherwise necessary to refuse the application. 

New regulations for pre-commencement conditions

From Monday 1st October 2018, new regulations came into effect. These say that LPAs cannot impose a pre-commencement condition without the written agreement of the applicant.

This only relates to applications for full planning permission. We may attach pre-commencement conditions to other types of consent, such as Listed Building Consent,  without your agreement.

Here is what must happen:

  1. We must notify applicants of proposed pre-commencement conditions, setting out our reasons for them, and giving you 10 working days to respond. 
  2. Applicants must provide a ‘substantive response’ within that 10 day period either stating that you do not agree to the proposed condition, or providing comments on it. If you do not provide such a response, we may grant planning permission with the proposed pre-commencement conditions in place, and without your consent. 
  3. Where a substantive response has been provided, we can amend the condition, remove it, make it a post-commencement condition, or refuse the application.

Our notice to you must be in writing and must include all the following:

  • the text of the proposed pre-commencement condition
  • the full reasons for the proposed pre-commencement condition, set out clearly and precisely
  • the full reasons for the proposed condition being a pre-commencement condition, set out clearly and precisely
  • the date by which we must receive your response. It must not be before the last day of the 10 working days beginning with the day after the date when the notice was given

In the event that you have provided a substantive response, but we cannot come to an agreement with you about the need for a pre-commencement condition, it is likely that permission for the entire development will be refused. 

Depending on the nature of the development, we may also attach bespoke pre-commencement conditions which are necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms. These may be attached after we have consulted with external agencies such as Historic England, Environment Agency, Natural England, London Underground, Transport for London or Thames Water.