Guidance on "Grampian" conditions and s106 agreements

Grampian (or negative) conditions have been used to control development under a planning permission where works are to be carried out off-site. For example, where an off site road junction needs improvement to cope with the additional traffic generated by the development granted permission, a condition could be imposed restricting the commencement of the development until the junction improvements had been carried out in accordance with approved plans.

This has been taken further and extended to situations where a planning obligation is needed, but where the obligation has not been entered into at the time of the grant of permission. The Planning Inspectorate had advised that it was appropriate in certain circumstances to impose a condition preventing development from commencing until details of the subject of the obligation had been submitted and approved by the local planning authority. This may of course involve the payment of contributions by the developer to the authority.

However, a recent Ministerial decision throws doubt on this approach. It has always been the case that conditions cannot require the payment of money and it appears that the Secretary of State considers that the type of Grampian conditions which seek to solve the lack of a completed planning obligation may breach the prohibition on a condition which requires the payment of money.

This does seem short sighted and impractical and it remains to be seen whether there is any court decision on this issue.

Planning Inspectorate issues model planning conditions

Model conditions have been published by the Inspectorate as a supplement to Circular 11/95, the last government advice on the use of planning conditions. There are 25 topics containing 60 conditions which can be found at the link below. These conditions are recommended by the Planning Inspectorate and will be used by local authorities as precedents when granting planning permission and by Inspectors when granting permission on appeal. However, they are not prescribed form in the sense that they are not set in legislation and will be adapted to suit individual circumstances. Note that none of the conditions have standard reasons attached to them, and these will need to be inserted by the local planning authority or inspector. Notable highlights are:-

  1. Restriction preventing obstruction of sight lines
  2. Series of conditions adding to advertisement control
  3. A condition requiring the submission of a detailed scheme for the provision of affordable housing. (This is interesting in the light of the comments from the Secretary of State about the use of Grampian conditions. The model condition is very specific about the contents of the scheme, but is nevertheless phrased as a Grampian style condition)
  4. Provision for car free housing, in a Controlled Parking Zone
  5. Requirement for housing to meet a specified Code Level from the Code for Sustainable Homes 
  6. Requirement to protect and stabilise buildings or architectural features during development within a conservation area and restriction on demolition within a conservation area pending the letting of a contract for the redevelopment works and the grant of planning permission for those works
  7. Limit on the number of caravans to be stored on the land
  8. Requirement for the submission of a construction method statement
  9. Requirement to submit a scheme for the generation of a specified percentage of energy from decentralised renewable and/or low carbon sources
  10. Development to be in accordance with specified plans; or a restriction on occupation until a specified item shown on the plans has been completed; or a requirement to use materials specified on the plans
  11. Where a retrospective permission is granted, the model condition contains a list of matters which must be dealt with in a specified period, failing which any use must cease and any development must be removed
  12. Requirement to retain garage/car parking as such
  13. Obscure Glazing
  14. Provisions relating to gypsy accommodation and activities
  15. A series of model conditions relating to restrictions on the hours of construction and use
  16. A series of model conditions relating to listed buildings
  17. Provisions relating to live-work units
  18. Provisions relating to noise
  19. Restriction on the age of occupants
  20. Parking provision
  21. Removal of permitted development rights relating to windows
  22. Prevention of implementation of two schemes
  23. Approval of details on an outline permission
  24. Shop window display
  25. Sustainable urban drainage

For further information, see the Planning Inspectorate website.

Impermeable hard surfaces in front gardens

While the laying of a hardstanding has been permitted development, as from 1 October, planning permission will be required for any impermeable hard surface forming a driveway in front of a dwelling in excess of 5sq m. The reason is to allow the local planning authority to assess the implications for surface water runoff, water pollution and flooding. The requirement does not apply to permeable surfaces such as porous asphalt, concrete block paving and gravel.