The information below sets out how to discharge conditions imposed on a planning permission.
Requests to discharge conditions should be made on the standard form Application for Approval of Details Reserved by Condition which is also available on the Planning Portal web site (external link), alternatively a request may be made by letter. The information submitted must be comprehensive and meet the condition requirements. Two copies of all documents/plans relating to each condition to be discharged must be submitted and it should clearly identify the condition number it relates to. The appropriate fee must be provided with the request.
The council will reject submissions for condition discharge where the details are inadequate. You can get advice from the agent who submitted the original application or an alternative planning consultant/architect. They may seek the advice of the council's compliance officer or case officer that dealt with your application.
There is no right of appeal if a submission is rejected and failure to discharge a condition could stall a development and ultimately lead to enforcement action or invalidate the planning permission.
If an application is submitted without a fee the council will write and advise that a fee is required. If it is not received no response will be provided and the request will not be considered and will be returned.
All conditions must be discharged. Some conditions must be complied with before development is started. Others regulate how the work is undertaken or require actions before a building is occupied or a use commences, whilst some regulate how the completed development is to be used or control possible changes in the future. The first condition on a planning permission will normally be one that limits the length of time that the permission is valid. If work is not started within this time the permission will lapse.
Applications must be made to the Development Management Team. If consultation is undertaken in advance with another person or agency about whether the intended details are likely to be acceptable, it is important to note that the condition is not discharged until the Development Management Team has been formally notified and has subsequently provided written approval.
Similarly, the same details may need to be submitted to more than the Development Management Team in order to comply with other rules and regulations. Even if another agency has agreed the details the planning condition will not be discharged until written notification is given by the Development Management Team. For example, a drainage scheme may need to be agreed with the Environment Agency, United Utilities and under the Building Regulations, but any relevant planning condition can only be discharged by the Development Management Team.
Fees for discharging conditions
A fee is required for all requests relating to conditions imposed on planning permissions for both the approval of relevant details and confirmation that conditions have been complied with.
This is regardless of when permission was granted. The fee is a standard charge, which is currently £25 for householder developments and £85 for all other developments, per request. This fee level has been set nationally by the Government.
Charges apply only to planning permissions and not to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents and Advertisement Consents. In addition, outline planning permissions do not include all the details of a development proposal and leave some details to be considered later as 'Reserved Matters'. Conditions imposed on an outline planning permission relating to reserved matters require a separate Reserved Matters Application and are not dealt with through the condition discharge process.
A fee is charged for each 'request'. Therefore if an application is made for the discharge of all the conditions at once, only one fee will be charged. However, if details are submitted for each condition separately, they will be counted as separate requests and a fee will be required each time.
If the condition requires details to be approved and then that the agreed details are implemented, a first request will need to be made to allow the details to be agreed and then a second request will be required on completion of the development to show that it has been carried out in accordance with the agreed details. Both requests will require a fee to be paid.
If the council does not approve details submitted for discharge of a condition and therefore revisions or further information is submitted it will require a new application with a further fee. There is no 'free go' or discount.
Fees have been made statutory by the Government and are intended to achieve the following customer benefits:
- A written answer will be provided which can be used in Home Information Packs (HIPs) or to satisfy purchaser's solicitors.
- To enable the council to keep a record of approved details so that if queries are received from neighbours, when you start work, they can be informed of what is happening, which should help to avoid neighbours disputes.
Period required to process discharge of condition requests
Provided that all necessary information is submitted the council aims to confirm the submitted details are acceptable or discharge the condition within 8 weeks.
Some requests to discharge conditions will need a third party to be consulted (such as the Highway Authority or an external agency such as the Environment Agency) and it may take longer to decide if the details are acceptable.
If the details are refused it will be necessary to submit a new application. This will require a further fee. But, where exchange of information/correspondence is on-going about an application, it will be at the officer’s discretion as to whether it is appropriate to refuse an application or continue with negotiations without a further fee.
If the council does not send any response to:
- agree the details;
- discharge the condition; or
- refuse to discharge the condition
within 12 weeks of the date of receipt, your fee will be refunded. In these circumstances the council will continue to work on the requested discharge of conditions.
However, if the council responds to one or more of the conditions referred to in the request, this will mean the fee will not be returned. If it is then determined that the details for one or all of the remaining conditions are refused a further application and fee would be required.
The council will aim to reply on each condition as quickly as possible. Therefore we may give our decision separately to each condition or group certain conditions together when replying.
It is important that applications requesting the discharge of conditions are submitted in plenty of time before it is intended to start the development. Although the council will deal with requests as quickly as possible, in some cases it may take time to agree all the relevant details or if a request is refused require a second application.
Varying the requirements of a condition or removing it
If it is considered that a condition is unreasonable, an appeal can be made against it. This must be made to the Secretary of State within 6 months of the date of the decision. Details of how to do this are on the reverse side of the decision notice or on the Planning Inspectorate website (external link). Any commencement of the development during the appeal process may invalidate the permission.
In all other cases a further planning application must be made to the council.
Varying an approved scheme
A condition is normally imposed on a planning permission that lists the plans and documents that have been approved. Minor working amendments may be agreed to these plans and documents. If it is proposed to amend a scheme using this condition, you should get advice from the agent that submitted the application, a planning consultant/architect or the case officer who dealt with the planning application. This would be dealt with as a request to discharge the condition and a fee would be required.
If the scheme is carried and permission is only sought retrospectively, it may invalidate the original planning permission and a further planning application would be required.
It is important to note that in respect of Listed Buildings special care should be taken as any works outside the consent or conditions are not just unauthorised but are criminal offences for which the owner, builder and agent may be prosecuted.
Failure to discharge conditions
Failure to discharge conditions at the correct time can invalidate a planning permission meaning the works have been carried out without the benefit of planning permission.
Failure to have a valid planning permission or not complying with the approved drawings or planning conditions may have some of the following consequences:
- the service of a breach of condition notice, with potential court action
- the service of a Temporary Stop Notice requiring works to cease on site
- the need to re-submit a full planning application to the council if the permission is invalidated with no guarantee that planning permission will be granted a second time
- a record on the Land Charges Searches that the development is unauthorised (and possibly subject to enforcement action)
- potential difficulties in raising funds or selling of the land or building
- prosecution if subsequent enforcement notices are not complied with
- undertaking works to a listed building in breach of conditions is a criminal offence, which may result in prosecution
This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other consequences.
Some conditions that require details to be agreed/implemented before development is commenced are particularly important because if work starts before the details have been agreed it could cause irrevocable damage or mean that remedial works are required that could involve partial or total demolition of the development at a significant cost. Examples of this may be in relation to conditions requiring archaeological assessments, protection of trees and land contamination.
Listed Building and Conservation Area Consents
There are no fees for discharging conditions on listed building consents or conservation area consents, but it is necessary to follow the same procedures as set out above.
The agent used to submit the planning application or alternative planning consultant/architect will be able to provide further advice. The council’s planning officers and compliance officer will also provide advice on the procedure and the detailed requirements of conditions that have been imposed on a planning permission.
Further information can also be found on the Planning Portal website (external link).
You can send your completed Application for Approval of Details Reserved by Condition form or write to:
Development Management Section
PO Box 100
Telephone: 01942 489143