Discharge of Conditions

When planning permission is granted, there are often planning conditions attached to it, which are identifiable on the decision notice.

These conditions surround specific details of the proposal, which did not form part of the original application, but need to be approved by the Council before you can undertake certain parts of the development. If you need the local planning authority to approve details reserved by a planning condition, this process is called ‘discharge of conditions’.

a house under construction with scaffolding

Examples of Planning Conditions

There are three different types of planning conditions:

  • Pre-commencement conditions;
  • Conditions outlining details which need to be submitted and approved by the Council before you can begin the development.


    "No development shall commence on site until details and samples of the materials to be used for the external walls and roofs have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details."

  • Pre-occupation conditions;
  • Conditions regarding elements of the proposal which need to be adhered to before you can occupy the development. Unless stated, you do not need to write to the Council for confirmation that these planning conditions have been met.


    "The development granted shall not be first occupied until the first five metres of the access has been consolidated and surfaced. The accesses shall be maintained as such thereafter."

  • Performance conditions;
  • Conditions which need to be adhered to. Unless stated, you do not need to write to the Council for confirmation that these planning conditions have been met.


    "The development hereby permitted shall begin before the expiration of three years from the date of the planning permission."

  Discharge of Conditions

Image source: DS Squared Architects

How do I Discharge my Conditions?

Discharging planning conditions involves a formal application submitted online through the Planning Portal. You can either discharge each individual planning conditions or all at one time.

Do I have to pay a fee?

The local planning authority will charge an application fee, which varies depending on whether your planning permission relates to a full application (£116) or householder (£34). Each time an application is made a fee is applicable. Therefore, in some circumstances, it is cost effective to discharge all planning conditions at once.

How long does a Discharge of Condition application take?

The local planning authority must provide a decision within a period of 8 weeks unless an extension of time has been agreed between the applicant and the local planning authority. If 12 weeks pass and no extension of time are agreed, the local planning authority must return the application fee without delay.

How do I know the Conditions have been Discharged?

If the council consider the additional information acceptable, the Local Planning Authority will issue a decision notice or a letter which outlines that all planning conditions have been discharged.

Why do I need to Discharge Conditions?

As the Council has granted planning permission subject to the additional information, you are only allowed to implement your development once all pre-commencement conditions have been discharged.

If you do not discharge your conditions or follow the conditions outlined on the decision notice, you may risk planning enforcement, which will prevent you from working on site. Alternatively, a Breach of Condition notice may be served on you, which will be visible indefinitely on all future land/property searches.

What if I do not want to comply with a Planning Condition?

If you would like a planning condition removed or varied, you can do this through a new application under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Like discharging conditions, this process involves submitting a new application through the Planning Portal. The decision takes around 8 weeks and during this time, the application will be open to consultation. If approved, a new decision notice is provided to you with new or removed planning conditions.

The Government’s Planning Practice Guidance explains that for a condition to be applied to a decision, it should be:

  1. Necessary;
  2. Relevant to planning and;
  3. To the development to be permitted;
  4. Enforceable;
  5. Precise and;
  6. Reasonable in all other aspects.

Where a planning condition has been applied that does not meet all 6 of the criteria listed above, there are grounds to have a condition amended or removed.

A request to extend the three-year time limit of planning permission cannot be made under a Section 73 application.

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