After permission is granted

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1. After permission is granted

Getting planning permission is not the end of the planning process. Planning conditions are applied to almost every planning permission.

By law, any planning permission granted expires after a certain period. If you have not started work by then you will need to reapply. Planning permission also "runs with the land", which means that sites or buildings can change ownership without losing the planning permission (unless a planning condition restricts the permission to a named person(s) or company).

Please read the decision letter carefully. Failure to comply with conditions could mean the Council has to take enforcement action.

If you think that a development is not being built as it should be, then the first thing to do is check if any of the conditions on the permission have been breached. You can do this by searching our planning database and reporting any suspected breach to our enforcement team.

2. Planning conditions

Planning conditions can limit and control the way in which the planning permission may be implemented. These are generally included to ensure the development is an acceptable one. They range from ensuring new brickwork on an extension matches the existing building, keeping an adequate level of parking spaces on site, through to controlling the opening hours of a commercial unit.

In addition to conditions that must be complied with, there may be informatives. These are useful information to guide applicants to other consents needed, people that they will need to talk to, or other matters of use.

Some conditions require more information to be agreed by the Council. It is important to meet this requirement, a process that is known as "discharging" conditions, because a condition is effectively a charge on the land that must be met legally. Planning conditions will show up in any solicitor searches, and can affect property sales if they are not discharged properly.

3. How do you discharge planning conditions?

Conditions may run for ever, they may require certain things to happen during construction or before the development is first used, or they may even require something to happen before any works start. The decision notice identifies which conditions require you to submit further details or information, and when these have to be complied with.

To discharge your conditions, you will need to make an application to us. For example, we may ask for samples of materials; details of refuse and recycling storage; or further specialist work such as sound insulation, archaeology or contaminated land. Please note we can no longer accept sample materials delivered to the Council Offices.  Instead samples should be available on site for the planning case officer to view.

You can make an application for the discharge of conditions online or download the form (form 25).

You can discharge one condition at a time or all the conditions at once.  A fee is payable for each submission.

Once we have the fee, form and information needed, we have 8 weeks to make a decision. However, if we need to involve others this can increase to 16 weeks. You also need to allow for the event that the information you submit is not acceptable to us, in which case you may then need to resubmit (with a new application and fee).

You will then get written confirmation from the Council that one or more conditions imposed on a planning permission have been complied with.

4. Contesting the planning conditions

There is no right of appeal against conditions for neighbours or other third parties. If applicants do not agree with the conditions the Council has imposed they can apply to get the condition changed or removed. 

To change or remove the condition you must:

5. Making changes to the approval

Sometimes changes need to be made after a scheme has been granted planning approval.  You are advised to make any changes as early as possible, and not after the changes have already taken place (in case they are not acceptable).

A request for a "non-material" amendment, or to a "minor" amendment, should be completed on the relevant forms (form 28) and the fees paid.  

Whether or not a proposed change is non-material will depend on the circumstances of the case. A change which may be non-material in one case could be material in another. However, generally a non-material amendment should be so minor that it would not raise any interest from other parties, nor affect the comments that they made on the original planning permission (it should be "non-material" to the overall development approved). There is no statutory definition of non-material, but this Council, as the planning authority, must be satisfied that the amendment sought is non-material in order to grant an application. If you are uncertain, you may wish to seek pre-application advice from us.

Minor amendments should not affect the outcome of the original permission, not start to undermine what was considered at that time. They should also try to avoid having a greater impact on neighbours, as this may have affected what they said at the time they were consulted originally. 

You can find more information on the flexible options for planning permissions in the  "A Flexible Approach to Planning Permissions" document.

Although there are no set rules, we will in most cases accept the following as minor amendments to previously approved plans:

  • Reductions in the volume / size of the building/extension
  • Reductions in the height of the building/extension
  • Amendments to windows / doors/openings that will not have any greater impact on neighbours
  • Subtle changes in materials, or detailed matters of design on individual features
  • Small movements or "tweaks" to landscaping, surfacing or parking space positions.

We consider the following to normally take a development beyond the scope of the permission and will therefore require a new planning application to be submitted:

  • Significant increase in the volume of the building / extension
  • Significant increase in the height of the building / extension
  • Changes that would conflict with a condition on the original approval
  • Additional or repositioned windows that will have possible impacts on neighbours
  • Changes that would alter the description of development from the original application
  • Amendments that would possibly change the opinions of neighbours, other Council departments or external statutory bodies that we consulted (or who would now need consulting).

6. Failure to discharge or comply with conditions

Failure to discharge conditions at the correct time can invalidate a planning permission, removing the benefit of permission.

For example, starting work on site without complying with the pre-conditions may make your permission null and void and can lead to enforcement action, including demolition of any building works (with costs recouped at your expense) and criminal sanctions.

This would then mean you would have to reapply for planning permission, possibly attracting a further planning fee, inevitably causing great delays that may result in stress. If you intend to ever sell a property, these can also result in lost property sales as the absence of a formal consent would be declared on any searches.

By following the correct procedure and complying with all the conditions at the right time within the development process, any search or enquiry by a solicitor will be satisfactorily answered.

7. Building Regulations

You will also need building regulations in most cases where planning permission has been granted. Generally, this is needed unless there is no physical building or alteration involved.

As soon as you have planning permission, if not before then, we strongly encourage applicants to start talking to our Building Control team as they can access the information from your planning application and talk to the planners involved in order to ensure a seamless transition.

Planning permissions do not cover the same issues as building regulations so the granting of a planning permission does not affect the need for building regulations approval, and vice versa. Therefore talking to our building control team can already help applicants start to consider matters such as sewer, water and electricity connections, fire safety, access, insulation and structural support options.

Applicants can email building control on buildingcontrol@stalbans.gov.uk, telephone 01727 819289.

8. Highways and other consents

If the approved development affects the public highway applicants will also need consent from Hertfordshire County Council as the Highway Authority. Consent is needed from Hertfordshire County Council for storing materials / skips on the highways or putting in a new dropped kerb.

If construction vehicles are damaging a grass highway verge, report to Hertfordshire County Council.

Other consents needed may include:-

Date of last review: 06 June 2017