Understanding planning permissions

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By Bruce Scobie

Understanding planning permissions on residential or commercial development sites is one of the key issues whether you are buying, selling or leasing land. Planning permissions will usually have a number of conditions some of which need a formal confirmation from the local authority, usually before development can take place but sometimes before occupation can take place.  Obtaining written confirmation of this formal approval is often forgotten and can lead to delays in transactions.  Many local authorities require a formal application for this confirmation of satisfaction of conditions, and certainly Mendip District Council require a formal application.

In more complicated cases, the planning permission will run alongside a Planning Agreement, usually referred to as a Section 106 Agreement. These are more complicated documents able to deal with detailed obligations such as low cost housing.  For dwellings Community Infrastructure Levy now deals with some of the obligations that were previously dealt with by the Planning Agreement such as the contributions to roads, schools etc because of the increase of people needing these services as populations grow because of new housing.  These “CILS” will involve the payment of a certain amount per house to the local authority.

All of this needs to be navigated carefully so that transactions can proceed smoothly and swiftly without the necessity for last minute applications to local authorities.