New Rules for Pre-Commencement Planning Conditions

New regulations will come into force on 1st October 2018 which will require council planning departments to seek the consent of the applicant before imposing pre-commencement type conditions on planning permissions.

The Government’s stated aim is to try and reduce the time-lag between a grant of consent and its implementation – speeding up the delivery of homes being high up the Government’s current planning agenda.

From the 1st October 2018, Councils will not be able impose pre-commencement conditions on planning permissions unless they have given notice to the applicant prior to the grant of consent and the applicant either agrees to the conditions or does not respond within the notice period (minimum of ten working days must be given).

In theory these measures should force Councils to think a little harder about what conditions really need to be dealt with before a development can start and this should be welcomed.

Currently we find that Councils too often do not give a second thought to using unnecessary ‘stock’ pre-commencement conditions and are unaware of the subsequent delays that this will cause to a developer’s programme. A common example of this is the need to have agreed things like detailed landscaping and planting schedules before a development has even commenced; things that could normally be dealt with as ‘pre-occupation’ requirements later down the line.

The opportunity in the new Regulations for the applicant to provide a ‘substantive response’ rather than being faced with a binary decision to either accept or reject the Council’s draft conditions is particularly welcomed. The measures should, in theory, improve the prospect of negotiating a favourable set of conditions with a Council prior to determination and reduce the potential need to have to come back and negotiate a decision notice under S73 (variation of condition) powers at a later stage, something which can take months to resolve.

The Regulations do introduce another step and potential complication to the planning approval process, however, and responses to Council’s notices from 1st October 2018 will need to be carefully considered to secure the best outcome and to avoid delays with the issue of consent.

If you would like to know how these measures might affect your development proposals, we would be pleased to help. Please contact Patrick Reedman on 01622 776226, send an email to or get in touch through our website.

For more information call 01622 776226 or email:

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