Conditions on a Permission or Consent

In order to make a proposal for works acceptable it is often necessary for the local planning authority to impose conditions on the exercise of the permission or consent.

Conditions can be applied to planning permissions and listed building consents.  

Nature and use of conditions

The NPPF sets out the six principles for when conditions should be imposed. They are:

  1. Necessary
  2. Relevant to planning
  3. Relevant to the development permitted
  4. Enforceable
  5. Precise
  6. Reasonable in all other respects (ref. 1).

Conditions that do not meet these criteria are liable to be challenged at appeal or through judicial review.  Further guidance is provided in the planning practice guidance (ref. 2) and a model set of conditions is contained in the appendix to circular 11/95 (ref. 3) use of conditions in planning permissions. However please note that the circular itself has been cancelled by the publication of the planning practice guidance. The use of conditions which must be complied with before development can begin (known as 'pre commencement conditions) is limited in some cases (ref. 4)

Particular care should be taken to ensure conditions are complied with in the correct order and at the correct time. If development is started before a pre-commencement condition is complied with or discharged, there is a risk that the development could be rendered unlawful and subject to planning enforcement.

Not all conditions will be capable of being discharged. Planning conditions which require, for example, particular opening hours to be observed, will require ongoing compliance for the lifetime of the development.

The use and interpretation of planning conditions has also been examined by the Courts, and specialist advice should be obtained in any cases of uncertainty. 

Common types of condition

Common conditions that can be imposed on listed building consent and planning permission for relevant demolition in conservation areas.

  1. The planning permission or consent to be implemented within a set period. The default period is three years from the date of the decision and the planning permission or consent will lapse if development has not begun in accordance with the timing condition
  2. The submission of reserved matters by a particular date - if the planning permission is in outline form
  3. Works to be carried out in compliance with approved drawings and plans
  4. The preservation of particular features of a building, either as part of the redevelopment or after temporary or permanent removal 
  5. Making good after works
  6. Reconstruction with the use of original material as far as practicable 
  7. Specified details of the works (whether or not set out in the application) to be approved subsequently by the local planning authority
  8. Demolition not to be started before a contract for the carrying out of works of redevelopment has been made and planning permission has been granted for that redevelopment (ref. 3);
  9. That the building or site is not to be beneficially occupied or reoccupied until all the works are complete to the satisfaction of the local planning authority
  10. Parts or the whole of the heritage asset to be recorded and the understanding of the asset’s significance to be published before it is lost, in accordance with a written scheme of investigation
  11. That recording activities are to be completed before beneficial use of all or part of the site
  12. The works being carried out to an agreed methodology or management plan, which can include controls on the hour of construction, the routing of construction vehicles, noise and dust amelioration and other matters 
  13. Access to the site to be made available for the purposes of observing the works to ensure compliance with methodologies or to deal with unexpected discoveries
  14. Temporary protection of exposed elements and trees
  15. The development to be occupied for a particular use or subject to certain restraints on use so as to minimise predictable impacts from permitted development
  16. The works to be removed and the building or site restored after a period of time – a temporary permission.  

Scheduled monuments

Conditions may also be applied to scheduled monument consent by the Secretary of State following similar principles.