The Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018 come into full force today.
These regulations essentially require the local planning authority or the Secretary of State to give notice of their intention to impose pre-commencement conditions. An application cannot be determined until “substantive response” is received from the applicant or the applicant fails to give such response within 10 working days of the notice.
A substantive response means one where the applicant does not agree to the imposition of the proposed conditions or provides comments on the proposed condition. It is not clear what would happen if the applicant does not agree to the condition, but it can be assumed that as planning conditions are imposed to make a development acceptable, any non-agreement would result in a refusal.
It is also possible that a comment could be made suggesting alterations to the condition, but there seems to be no provision to ensure agreement to these alterations, thus the local planning authority could potentially ignore them. What happens in that scenario is unclear.
It should be noted that outline planning applications are not subject to the regulations and no agreement is necessary for the imposition of pre-commencement conditions.
Whilst the restriction of pre-commencement conditions is good news, such conditions are often over-used and a staple of over-worked planning authorities. There is a risk that requiring agreement will lead to greater delays in decision making. It is also unclear at this stage how such matters will be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate.
Mark Campbell, Principal Planner at Evans Jones comments:
“To ensure that applications are dealt with in a timely manner applicants should consider early in the decision making process which conditions would and would not be acceptable. It may well prove necessary to include details within planning and appeal statements relating to conditions to seek early agreement.”
A link to the regulations is supplied here.