It is generally agreed that pre-commencement conditions can play a useful role in the planning process. However, developers can often be left frustrated by their inappropriate use which can delay works starting on site and add unnecessary cost. In response to these concerns, Section 100ZA was inserted into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 last year to ensure that pre-commencement conditions are ‘only used where they are absolutely necessary and that parties are in agreement before they are imposed’.
The Town & Country Planning (Pre-Commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018, issued last week, set out the circumstances where planning permission may be granted subject to a pre-commencement condition without the written agreement of the applicant to the terms of the condition. Under the Regulations, if the applicant has been notified of the intention to impose the pre-commencement condition and fails to provide a “substantive response” (a term which is defined in the Regulations) within 10 working days, the pre-commencement condition can be imposed without their agreement.
National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) will be updated prior to the new rules coming info force on 1 October 2018. Alongside the existing statutory requirement for local planning authorities to provide a ‘full reason’ for any conditions imposed on an application, the new rules should help reduce the imposition of unnecessary pre-commencement conditions – and the specified 10 working day response period seems a reasonable time frame to raise concerns without unduly delaying the issue of a permission.
If you have any queries requiring planning conditions, please feel free to contact one of the Firstplan team.