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Amy Cater

Posted 9 October 2018
by Amy Cater

New Rules for Pre-Commencement Planning Conditions Now in Force

House and blue sky

On 1 October 2018 new rules came into force in England preventing Local Planning Authorities (“LPA”) from granting planning permission subject to pre-commencement conditions without the applicant’s written agreement. The new rules are intended to speed up development.

A pre-commencement condition is a planning condition that must be complied with before building works start or, in the case of a material change of use, before the change of use takes place.

If the LPA intends to grant planning permission subject to a pre-commencement condition it must first obtain the applicant’s written agreement to the proposed pre-commencement condition.

If the applicant does not confirm their agreement in writing the LPA must send the applicant a written notice setting out:

  • the text of the proposed pre-commencement condition;
  • the full reasons for the proposed condition and for it being a pre-commencement condition; and
  • that any substantive response to the notice must be received by no later than 10 working days after the notice is given.

If the applicant doesn’t respond within 10 working days it will result in the applicant being deemed to agree with the pre-commencement condition and the LPA being able to proceed to grant the planning permission with that condition.

If the applicant responds by either disagreeing with the proposed condition and/or providing comments on it in writing, the LPA will not be able to grant the planning permission subject to the proposed pre-commencement condition. The only options available to the LPA in those circumstances are to:

  • grant the planning permission without the pre-commencement condition;
  • seek written agreement to an alternative pre-commencement condition; or
  • refuse to grant permission.

The rules also apply to the Secretary of State when imposing conditions on permissions granted on appeal.

It will be interesting to see in due course whether the rules do in fact lead to developments being started sooner, or whether applicants will simply agree to pre-commencement conditions being added to their permission in order to avoid a refusal.

If you require any planning advice, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team of planning solicitors on 01392 207020.

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About the author

Amy Cater

Amy Cater

Partner and Solicitor

A partner who specialises in planning and public sector matters