Government signals changes to planning conditions

Model building design on planning blueprints_15619

The Government has set out its commitment to improving the way planning conditions are added to planning permissions.  So farmer’s applying for planning permission get the chance to discuss any proposed conditions that will be applied to a planning permission before the final decision is given. The new rules are expected to come into force next year, if they are introduced as expected by the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

The Government’s decision to push ahead with changes to planning conditions follows a consultation in the autumn to which the NFU responded to ensure NFU member experience was shared.

The Government are particularly concerned about ‘pre-commencement conditions’. This type of condition can delay projects as before building works can start, an applicant for planning permission has to send in and agree more information with the local planning authority. This can take a further 8 weeks to determine. Whilst the Government thinks there will always be some cases where pre-commencement planning conditions may be needed (for example for flood defence works),  they also believe the  applicant should have the opportunity to discuss how to make such conditions workable in practice.  They think applicants should be given 10 working days to comment on suggested planning conditions.

The Government is also looking to introduce legislation through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to ensure all planning conditions meet 6 key planning legal tests.  These require planning conditions to be necessary, relevant to planning and the development to be permitted, enforceable, precise and reasonable in all other respects.

In practice the Government say they are only seeking into national law good practice where local authorities keep in touch with applicants and their agents throughout the planning process, including when they are thinking about planning conditions.

For NFU members the advice is to ensure that you or your agent are being kept informed of how a planning application is progressing and what planning conditions to expect to be on your planning approval.  Whilst the new regulations for planning conditions may not yet have been introduced they do represent good practice for local authorities to follow.

Read more about the Government’s proposed rules for planning conditions here.

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