Discharge of Planning Conditions: Best Practices for Developers

Navigating the intricacies of planning permission can be a daunting task for developers. One aspect of the planning process that often causes uncertainty is the need to adhere to, or submit further information as identified in the planning conditions associated with your approval. However, understanding the nuances of this process and adhering to English Planning Law is crucial for success. In this article, we will explore the best practices for developers looking to master the art of discharge of planning conditions.

The Importance of Best Practices

Failing to properly address the planning conditions attached to your approval could jeopardise the entire project. Certain conditions must be satisfied before starting construction, while others apply during the build process. Conditions may also regulate how the work is carried out or mandate specific actions.

For conditions requiring submission and approval of additional information by the local authority, be aware discharging these conditions takes several weeks. Factor that time into your construction schedule. Additionally, building regulations approval is a separate process from planning permission, so don’t overlook this.

To ensure a smooth and efficient project development process, developers should follow best practices when seeking deemed discharge. Here are some key steps to consider:

  1. Know Your Conditions

Understanding the planning conditions imposed on your development is the foundation of the discharge of conditions process. Carefully review the conditions to identify which conditions require further approval, i.e. they require something to be submitted to the local planning authority for approval.

You can find this information in several ways:

Planning Permission Decision Notice: When your planning permission is granted, the local planning authority will issue a formal notice. This notice typically includes a list of planning conditions. Review this notice carefully to identify the conditions imposed on your project.

Online Planning Portals: Local planning authorities have online portals where you can access planning application documents, including decision notices and information relating to why conditions were required. Check the website of your local planning authority to see if this information is available online.

Consult with Your Planner or Agent: If you worked with a planning consultant, agent, or architect when submitting your planning application, they should have copies of the planning conditions. Reach out to them for assistance in identifying and understanding these conditions.

Contact the Local Planning Authority: If you’re unable to find the planning conditions through the methods mentioned above, contact the local planning authority directly. They should be able to provide you with a copy of the planning decision notice and associated conditions.

Our article Understanding Planning Conditions gives you the top 5 things to know about them.

  1. Submit a Discharge of Conditions Application

Once you’ve identified the relevant planning conditions, prepare and submit a discharge of condition application to the local planning authority. Your application should include all the necessary information, such as the details of the planning conditions, any required documents, and the date of submission. You can submit an application per condition or one covering all relevant conditions which require discharging.

The process of preparing and submitting a discharge of condition application to the local planning authority in the English typically involves a standard form.

Here’s how to prepare and submit a deemed discharge application:

Ideally write a formal letter addressed to the local planning authority to support your application. This letter should be clear, concise, and well-structured. In the letter:

  • Clearly state that you are submitting a deemed discharge application for specific planning conditions.
  • Provide the full address of the development site.
  • Reference the planning application or decision notice associated with the conditions.
  • Include your contact information for correspondence.
  • Clearly specify the planning conditions you are seeking to have deemed discharged. Be explicit in detailing the conditions you wish to be considered.
  • Include any required supporting documentation or information related to the conditions in question. For example, if a condition requires a landscaping plan, provide that plan as part of your submission.
  • Include the date on which you are making the application. This is important for tracking timelines as per English Planning Law.

You can submit the application to the local planning authority via email, the planning portal or physical mail. Contact the authority or check their website for specific submission instructions.

  1. Respect the Timeframes

English Planning Law sets specific timeframes within which the local planning authority must respond to a discharge of condition applications. This response period is eight weeks from the date of submission. We recommend developers keep track of the countdown from the date of submission and be prepared to act accordingly if the authority does not respond within the specified period.

  1. Maintain Communication

Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarification. Maintaining good communication can help prevent misunderstandings and facilitate a smoother process.

  1. Document Everything

Keeping detailed records of all correspondence and documentation related to the discharge of condition application is vital. This documentation serves as evidence if disputes or challenges arise during or after the process. Well-organised records can help protect your interests and provide transparency in case of any disagreements.

  1. Monitor Progress

Regularly check the progress of your application with the local planning authority. If the authority fails to respond within the prescribed timeframe, you can submit a Deemed Discharge of Conditions Application.

What Is Deemed Discharge?

Deemed discharge is a provision under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which allows developers to proceed with their projects if the local planning authority does not respond to a request to discharge planning conditions within a specified timeframe.

If seeking a deemed discharge the applicant must follow the procedure set out in Articles 27 to 30 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.

Check out our article Deemed Discharge of Planning Conditions for a more detailed overview.

Developers should not assume that all conditions can be deemed discharged; instead, they must identify the ones that are eligible for this streamlined process. Our article about Deemed Discharge of Planning Conditions covers this (see link above).

By following these best practices and adhering to English Planning Law, developers can navigate the deemed discharge process efficiently, reduce project delays, and ensure compliance with regulations, ultimately contributing to a more streamlined and successful development project.

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In summary, gaining approval is just the first step – careful adherence to all planning conditions is imperative for success. Take time upfront to thoroughly understand each condition and build the requisite timelines into your project plan. Maintaining open communication with the local authority can help smoothly satisfy conditions and avoid potential delays.

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More information for you is available in our series of eBooks and Practical Guides which cover everything from the very basics of town planning to application processes and what developers need to consider.

If you’re not sure if you need help from a Town Planner take a look at blog on When to Hire a Town Planner our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner.

Discharge of Conditions: Best Practices for Developers