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Deemed discharge of planning conditions to be introduced

In July this year, the government issued a consultation entitled "Technical Consultation on Planning". One section of this asked for views on whether there should be a system for deeming that a condition attached to a planning permission has been discharged where the local planning authority has not responded within a reasonable time.

The government's response to this aspect of the consultation has now been issued and will be implemented as follows:

  • The deemed discharge would only be activated by the applicant serving a notice on the local planning authority;
  • The applicant will be able to serve the notice at any time after the expiry of six weeks from the day after the application to discharge the condition was received by the local authority;  
  • The applicant's notice would state that the local authority's approval will be deemed to have been given if no decision is given within a further two weeks (or such longer timeframe as is set out in the notice).

The deemed discharge will not be available for all types of conditions. It will not apply to:

  • conditions attached to development that is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment;
  • conditions attached to development that is likely to have a significant effect on a qualifying European site;
  • conditions designed to manage flood risk;
  • conditions that have the effect of requiring an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 to be entered into; 
  • conditions requiring the approval of details for outline planning permissions required by reserved matters;
  • conditions relating to the investigation and remediation of contaminated land;
  • conditions relating to highway safety;
  • conditions relating to Sites of Special Scientific Interest; or
  • conditions relating to investigation of archaeological potential.

The Infrastructure Bill, which is currently before the House of Lords, contains power for the Secretary of State to make a development order in relation to the deemed discharge of planning conditions. Once the Infrastructure Bill has become law, the government will introduce secondary legislation setting out the detail of the deemed discharge procedure. However, at this stage, we do not know when that secondary legislation will be passed.

Katherine Evans, Head of Planning & Environment at TLT said "Some developers may find this a useful tool to speed up the process of getting on site."

Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at November 2014. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases; we cannot be held responsible for any action (or decision not to take action) made in reliance upon the content of this publication.

TLT LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales number OC 308658 whose registered office is at One Redcliff Street, Bristol BS1 6TP England. A list of members (all of whom are solicitors or lawyers) can be inspected by visiting the People section of this website. TLT LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 406297.

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