Wednesday, 26 September 2018
The legislation governing the imposition of pre-commencement conditions (often referred to as ‘conditions precedent’) comes into force next week, on the first day of October.
As from that date planning permission may not be granted subject to a pre-commencement condition without the written agreement of the applicant to the terms of the condition (other than in the circumstances described below, which are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018 - 2018 No. 566).
A pre-commencement condition for this purpose is one which is imposed on a grant of full planning permission (but not an outline permission) and which must be complied with either before any building or operation comprised in the development is begun, or (in the case of change of use) before the material change of use occurs.
The government’s hope is that LPAs and applicants will discuss conditions (including any pre-commencement conditions) during the processing of the application and before a final decision is made. They expect the LPA to share with the applicant any draft pre-commencement conditions at the earliest possible opportunity. If the applicant confirms their agreement to a pre-commencement condition in writing, then the pre-commencement condition can be imposed, and the procedures set out in the Regulations do not apply.
Where an LPA has not been able to obtain written agreement to a pre-commencement condition it wishes to impose, it may serve a notice under the Regulations, which must include the text of the proposed pre-commencement condition, the full reasons for the proposed condition (which must be set out clearly and precisely), the full reasons for its being made a pre-commencement condition (which must also be set out clearly and precisely), and finally, a notice that any substantive response must be received by the LPA within 10 working days from the date on which the notice is given.
In the absence of a substantive response from the applicant, the LPA may impose the pre-commencement condition without the written agreement of the applicant. (The process is set out in the Regulations and also in the online Planning Practice Guidance.)
© MARTIN H GOODALL