Section 73 Challenge Streamlines Prior Approval Planning Process

The Wilkes Partnership, Birmingham, Law Firm, Solicitor, Planning

Prior approval planning applications may now be easier, thanks to a successful judicial planning review won by Midlands law firm The Wilkes Partnership.

With many local authorities applying a standard list of pre-commencement conditions, regardless of the development, developers are often finding that conditions they are required to comply with are completely irrelevant. To combat this, it should be possible for an application to be made under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to vary or remove conditions associated with a planning permission where there is reason to do so. This is a simple and fairly inexpensive procedure. However, developers have found that local authorities have refused to process a section 73 application in such circumstances.

In the case of Pressland v The Council of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham The Wilkes Partnership and Kings Chambers, Birmingham have been successful in challenging the local authority’s refusal to address conditions via section 73, and their insistence that the developer should appeal the conditions that had been imposed – a lengthy and costly process. The successful challenge means that the developer will now be able to use the more straightforward means of a section 73 application.

Stuart Tym, planning expert at The Wilkes Partnership, said: “This landmark decision will have a lasting impact on how councils impose and review conditions on prior approval applications. So much time and money – for both developers and local authorities – is wasted with the application of irrelevant conditions, with even more wasted if developers must appeal to get them removed. Hopefully, this case will make local authorities carefully consider the pre-commencement conditions they impose on a project-by-project basis, instead of applying a standard list across all developments. In any case, it will make the process of removing irrelevant conditions much less onerous.”

If you would like to discuss these issues in further detail, please contact Stuart Tym on 0121 710 5891 or via email on stym@wilkes.co.uk