Conditions and Obligations | Colchester Borough Council

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Conditions and Obligations

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If you've been approved planning permission, there will probably be some conditions you must stick to.


  • What is a planning condition
  • At what stage are conditions added
  • What are planning informatives
  • What are planning obligations

Most planning permissions are approved subject to conditions. Conditions are included on planning applications to make sure building projects are acceptable.

They must be read as they can restrict the way in which your building project is built. Failure to meet conditions placed on planning permissions can lead to enforcement action or “invalidate” your permission.

For example, if the condition states new brickwork on an extension must match the existing building, this must be done. If not, it would not comply with the permission and become an unauthorised development that could be enforced and demolished.

Conditions can require you to do something before starting work, during works, before occupying a property or they can run forever. The decision notice will say which conditions require further information and when these have to be complied with.

Some conditions will require you to agree things with us beforehand (e.g. landscaping schemes). Others are just required to be met without you needing to talk to us (e.g. opening hour restrictions).

We recommend you speak to a specialist where appropriate.

Conditions will be imposed where they meet the legal tests, which are:

  • Necessary
  • Relevant to planning
  • Relevant to the development taking place
  • Enforceable
  • Precise
  • Reasonable in all other aspects

If you don't want to accept the conditions, you can either discuss this with us or you can appeal. What's this?

A good way to avoid conditions is to provide all the required information upfront.

If we are unsure about anything, we will usually add a condition that further information is submitted to provide more details.

Read more on the Planning Portal


We may also include "Informatives". This is useful information to guide you to other consents that might be necessary.

For example, people that you will need to talk to before you start work.

These aren't a legal requirement but you are recommended to read them as they can help to ensure your building project is carried out properly.

Read more on the Government's site

Planning Obligations

A planning obligation can involve agreements or financial payments to lessen the impact of a development or restrict the use of the land.

For example, in order for planning permission to be issued for major developments usually a Section 106 (S106) agreement must be completed.

S106 agreements are legal agreements between a Council and a developer or other parties, or can be offered unilaterally by a developer, that ensure extra works related to a development are undertaken.

Unilateral Undertakings (UUs) are similar legal agreements which only bind one party to undertake something that forms a planning obligation before, during, after or indefinitely.

They can sometimes be used as an alternative to a S106 agreement, particularly where the obligations are simple.

Planning obligations are important as they make sure the impact of growth in the population is dealt with in a sustainable way and contributions ensure the provision of infrastructure to meet this planned growth.

If you submit a "major" planning application, you should submit a heads of terms template. What's this?

We recommend you make a pre-application first so that any planning obligations that are required can be set out. What's this?

Read more on the Planning Portal

The Outcome of your Application

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