Discharges of Planning Conditions
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Discharging planning conditions

What are planning conditions?

All planning permission is granted under a set of specific conditions that must be approved by your local planning authority before you can begin construction. Planning conditions usually focus on approval for boundary and landscaping schemes, external materials and the finer details of your building project that weren’t included in your planning permission application. Some conditions must be handled before development begins and some need to be dealt with before the property is occupied, while others are in place to control any future work that you embark on.

When you are purchasing a plot of land that has already obtained planning permission, it is essential that you read the planning conditions thoroughly and ensure that they can be discharged. If you fail to discharge the planning conditions in your agreement, this can invalidate your project’s planning permission and your local planning authority can take action to prevent any construction work being carried out on your site.

Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that planning conditions should not be extensive and should only be used when they are:

– Relevant to planning
– Necessary
– Enforceable
– Relevant to the work to be carried out
– Precise
– Reasonable

Planning conditions can vary significantly and cover a huge range of works, but some of the most common conditions are:


Most local planning authorities will impose a planning condition that requires the approval of some or all of the external materials that you intend to use for your build. Depending on your local authority, you may be required to provide samples of the roof tiles and bricks you intend to use or other details about your chosen materials.


All applications for planning permission will be required to state their intended method of foul and surface drainage, which should also be laid out in the construction plans. Before work begins on-site, most planning authorities will require detailed proposals and drawings to depict the precise drainage plans.


Usually, your planning permission application will include a condition that states that construction must begin within three years of approval.

Driveways and parking

There is usually a planning condition regarding the type of materials that are to be used on the surfacing of driveways or parking areas on the site. Planning conditions often include a request for the submission of the details about the site’s minimum visibility splays in both directions to make sure that visitors to the site can access it safely.

Tree planting

Many local planning authorities will request the approval of landscaping and tree planting plans before work begins while others will request that certain trees remain protected. Thankfully, builders doing the work themselves are able to reclaim the VAT on most of their planting materials if they lay out the details of their landscaping plans on their application.

How to discharge planning conditions

The methods used to discharge planning conditions will depend on the unique specifications of your local planning authority, so it is a good idea to consult with them. Usually, your local authority’s website will either have a downloadable application form for discharging conditions or an online application.

If you consult with your local planning authority before you have submitted your application, or before your meeting with the planning committee, you might be able to establish an agreement with the nature of the planning conditions the committee is likely to impose and the method of discharge.

How much does it cost to discharge planning conditions?

All planning permission applicants will be required to pay a fee to their local planning authority when they apply for:

– Written confirmation that the planning conditions have been completed
– Written confirmation that the planning conditions have been successfully discharged

Usually, in England, householder planning permission applicants will be required to pay a fee of £34 to discharge their planning permission requirements, whereas single dwelling applicants will be required to pay a £116 fee. Applicants can also discharge multiple planning applications simultaneously while incurring one fee.

How long does it take to discharge planning conditions?

In simple cases, your local planning authority will usually respond to your application to discharge planning conditions within 21 days, including circumstances in which a third party consultation is required before discharge. After you submit your request, your local planning authority has 8 weeks to notify you of their decision. If you have not received a decision after 12 weeks, even if you have agreed on a time extension for discharging the condition, your planning authority is required to refund your fee.

Can I appeal against a planning condition?

If you believe that a planning condition put forward by your local authority is unlawful, unreasonable or unfair, you can appeal against it. This will be handled in the same manner as a normal planning appeal and may take up to six months to be dealt with, but there is always the risk that it will not be successful.

Acquiring planning permission is a long and convoluted process, which is why many home and business owners choose to consult with a professional architecture firm before embarking on their project. If you’re looking to obtain planning permission in London, our team of experts at AC Design Solutions can provide you with the professional support you need to get your project started. For more information about our building regulation services London property owners rely on, get in touch with our team today by emailing us at zaeem@acdesignsolutions.co.uk or by filling in our online form.