How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

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Planning Permission

How long does planning permission last for?

Once development has commenced, planning permission will last in perpetuity (subject to commencement of development occurring within the time limit set out on the decision notice). If commencement of development hasn't occurred, then a planning permission can only be acted upon if it remains extant (i.e., the time limit for the commencement of development set out in the conditions hasn't expired).

The time limit for commencement of development, usually 3 years, is set out under Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990):

Section 91 -General condition limiting duration of planning permission (Link to the legislation)

Whats is commencement of development?

Commencement of development means simply the point when a "material operation" is first carried out. What consitutes a "material operation" is set out under Section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990):

Section 56 -Time when development begun (Link to the legislation)

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How can you confirm that development has commenced?

You have two ways of getting confirmation that development has lawfully commenced: apply to discharge the condition relating to commencement of development (usually condition 1 on the decision notice); or, alternatively, submit a Lawful Development Certificate application.

If you are still within the 3 year period after permission was granted, the easiest thing to is to apply to discharge the condition relating to commencement of development. If the 3 years has expired, the only option is to submit an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

A Lawful Development Certificate, often termed a Certificate of Lawfulness, is a legal document confirming that an existing or proposed development is lawful and doesn't require planning permission. An application will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority via the Planning Portal. You will need to submit a scaled plan outlining the site, together with a proportionate amount of supporting information to demonstrate the lawfulness of the proposal.

Section 191 - Certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development (Link to the legislation)

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Our Services

We can prepare and submit a discharge of condition application or a Lawful Development Certificate application on your behalf.

Please get in contact if you have any questions.

3 Edgar Buildings
George Street

Phone: 01225 584640