Q&As

Can a pre-commencement condition requiring approval from the local authority for works be discharged if it has been breached?

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/03/2017

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a pre-commencement condition requiring approval from the local authority for works be discharged if it has been breached?

This Q&A considers the situation where a pre-commencement condition attached to a planning permission stipulating that the local authority must approve plans before works can be carried out, where the approval has not been granted.

This Q&A does not consider conditions attached to listed building consents. Non-compliance with conditions attached to listed building consents constitutes an offence and can lead to prosecution and/or enforcement action, see Planning due diligence—listed building consents—checklist.

The general rule is that any works which breach a pre-commencement condition are not authorised by the planning permission, and cannot therefore implement the planning permission. If works required approval before commencement of development, and such approval was not obtained, then arguably any material operation carried out before the expiry date of the permission would be unlawful and the permission could have lapsed.

A limited number of exceptions to this general rule have been established in case law. These exemptions tend to have been restricted to the following circumstances:

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