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New Planning Rules to Benefit Developers

Obtaining planning permission is often a tricky process and the delight in getting permission can be tempered by the local council adding a 'pre-commencement' condition specifying something that must be done. The result is a planning permission granted but with conditions attached which the applicant may not like. These may add costs, create time lags, or even make the whole project unviable.

It seems self-evident that it would make sense for the applicant to have input into the process before the decision is made. Fortunately, from 1 October 2018 the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 will change things significantly for the better.

From then on, if a council wishes to impose a pre-commencement condition, the permission of the Secretary of State will have to be obtained and the applicant given notice of the proposed condition and why it is being sought. The applicant will then have ten days to submit a 'substantive response' to comment on the proposed condition or lodge disagreement with it.

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It is hoped that the new process will lead to a reduction in the number of pre-commencement conditions sought, reducing delay and administrative burdens on developers, as they will hopefully only be issued when the council concerned thinks they are truly necessary. Time will tell.
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