Planning Conditions – A Guide

Planning Permission


We continue our series of blogs covering the ins and out of planning applications. This month, we look at planning conditions…


Not all planning permission is given automatically. Some applications will be granted permission, but with several conditions attached.

Here, we answer some common questions about planning conditions:

I have planning permission, but it is subject to planning conditions, what do I do next?

On occasion, when a planning authority grants planning permission it might attach planning conditions. This allows the Council to exert further control in respect to matters of detail pertaining to the proposed development. But to ensure the development can move forward, the applicant must make sure they adhere to the planning conditions. These conditions will be laid out in the decision notice.

Some of these conditions may still need to be approved by the local authority – for example the type and colour of building materials. These will probably be details that weren’t specified by the applicant in the original application. Dependent on the precise wording of the planning condition these may need to be sorted out before work begins on the development. Other conditions may relate to matters such as site operating hours, for instance, and will be discharged as the build continues simply by complying with their requirements.

If you are unhappy about the conditions imposed, it is possible to appeal to the Secretary of State.

When and how do I discharge planning conditions?

You need to apply to discharge planning conditions and, as above, the exact way this is achieved depends on the wording. If you need to formally apply to discharge the planning condition this will require the completion of a new application form, specifically relating to the discharge of conditions. The form can be found on the council’s website, which you can download and submit, or alternatively online at the Planning Portal.

Can I influence the requirements of planning conditions?

A consultation with the authority before you make an application (i.e. pre-application advice) is likely to be very useful or you could negotiate by liaising with the Council during the life of the planning application, as you can often come to a broad agreement about the wording of conditions, what they will require and how they will be discharged. A planning consultant can be a useful ally for you when undertaking these consultations.

Since 1st October 2018, where the Council proposes a pre-commencement condition (e.g. requiring the submission of further detail by applicant for its agreement before the development commences), this may not be imposed without the written agreement of the applicant. If agreement is not reached the Council may seek to agree an alternative form of wording or decide to refuse planning permission.

What should Councils ensure when imposing a planning condition?

Planning conditions must meet 6 tests, otherwise they should not be imposed on a planning permission. These 6 tests are set out within the NPPF and Planning Practice Guidance and require the planning condition to be:

  1. necessary;
  2. relevant to planning and;
  3. to the development to be permitted;
  4. enforceable;
  5. precise and;
  6. reasonable in all other respects.

The Government advises that Councils should use planning conditions in such a way that they do not unnecessarily affect an applicant’s ability to bring a development into use, allow a development to be occupied or otherwise impact on the proper implementation of the planning permission. This means the Council should consider whether the detailed information required by a planning condition is necessary before development commences, during the construction phase or prior to first use of the land or building(s).

Councils are required to give reasons for imposing each planning condition and can also help to demonstrate how the 6 tests are satisfied.

What is an example of an unreasonable condition?

Where the planning condition requires something of an applicant or development and it is patently clear there is no prospect of the action being performed within the time limit imposed by the permission.

What does an application to discharge a planning condition involve?

In addition to the requisite application form, the Council will charge a fee to consider the application. The Council must give notice of its decision whether to discharge the condition or not within 8 weeks.

What happens if I do not secure discharge of conditions?

If conditions are not adhered to or discharged you could be served with a Temporary Stop Notice, which will stop you from working on site. Alternatively, you may receive a Breach of Condition Notice – this will appear on all future land/property searches. You might also invalidate your planning permission, calling a complete halt to your proposed development or resulting in any existing building work having to be demolished.

We hope you find the above useful. However, its important to note that almost every case is different and if you would like to discuss your own planning project with us, or just find out more about what we do, please continue to browse the website or drop us an email to: without obligation.