Developers and planning officers join forces to recommend improvements to planning conditions

2 Nov 2016

Policy area: Planning, Construction & Development

The property industry and planning officers have joined forces to urge government to enshrine best practice for planning conditions in national planning guidance, including a clear route for appealing conditions.

In their joint response to the government’s consultation on improving the use of planning conditions, the British Property Federation (BPF) and the Planning Officers Society (POS) have recommended that the proportionate and appropriate use of planning conditions is best achieved by setting out a clear route of appeal in the NPPF and PPG, with associated costs being attributed to the losing party.

They have warned that current proposals to prohibit certain conditions outright does not allow enough flexibility to account for local circumstances, and could in fact delay the planning process further by pushing contentious decisions into the time-consuming negotiation of section 106 requirements.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: "Streamlining the use of planning conditions could herald a welcome acceleration for development, and we support government efforts to ensure that their abuse doesn’t pose an unnecessary barrier to delivering the new homes and real estate that are essential to people's everyday lives. 

However, clear and appropriate conditions are an essential part of achieving good place making, and developers and planning officers are in agreement that a more flexible approach, with best practice guidance and a clear appeals route, would better serve this objective. With local authority resources already stretched, now is not the time to risk making a time-consuming process even more onerous.”

Mike Kiely, Chair of the Planning Officers Society, said “The value and benefits of using concisely worded and proportionate conditions to achieve good place-making should be articulated and communicated more widely too.”

Government is proposing to limit the use of conditions via primary legislation, by setting out a list of prohibited conditions in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.