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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    Dear Illustrious Community,
    I would much appreciate sharing this perplexing missive from the planning dept here at West Norfolk.
    Can anyone tell us whether this is "legally" required or not? The wording is frankly baffling and we have no experience of any requirement from them with our previous build. It appears that the fee is optional from the wording....This is for our very low cost/low impact tiny cottage mad from salvaged and natural materials only....

    I hope it's readable...
      Planning condition Scam.jpg
    • CommentAuthormarsaday
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2017
    Have you paid your planning fee for the cottage yet ? It looks like there is a fee to pay here. Not sure if it is your planning fee or a different one.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2017
    This is another invisible tax, a fee for the planners to work on your information to satisfy the conditions.

    If you don't satisfy them within their time frame there will be an extra fee, beware.

    Has the end of the handwritten note got chopped? Doesn't sound optional from what I can read above.
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2017
    Carol, conditions are quite normal and paying to discharge conditions is quite normal and £97 is currently the fee payable for such. There's no time limit and the price doesn't depend on when you do it except unless you wait until inflation raises the price:


    Note that you pay the same fee no matter how many conditions you discharge at one time and that there is no obligation on you to request written confirmation of discharge. So I have discharged those conditions that had to be satisfied before my build but haven't bothered about those that need to be satisfied afterwards. I suppose if you intend to sell the property then conditions that haven't been discharged might become an issue, for example.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2017 edited

    Looks like your planning permission has a conditions attached to get approval for some of the details.

    In an ideal world you would produce a drawing or text document showing those details and discuss them with the planning department. If they are happy then you would write to them requesting that the condition be discharged and enclose the fee.

    Unfortunately some planners want the fee upfront before they will even discuss the drawings you submit. In which case send them the drawings and the fee with a letter/form requesting that they discharge the condition if they are happy with the proposed detailed drawing.
    Hello, I'm John Carol's Husband. I'd be grateful if you'd peruse the printed wording again. What I'm percieving is that a fee to discharge a condition is "optional". My guess is planners are relying on our unquestioning assumption that they are entitled to charge a fee.

    I quote
    "There are NO NATIONAL REQUIREMENTS for applications for the approoval of details reserved by condition except that they should be made in writing. "

    So "No national requirements" this does not seem to be law. "except that they should be made in writing" that seems to be more like law

    "However you may submit the following" Here we go again "may" is a nice option and we "may" choose not to. What do you think? Thank you. John
    The fact that there are "NO NATIONAL REQUIREMENTS" does not mean that there can't be local ones. Your local requirement may mean a fee of X whilst someone elses local requirement may mean a fee of Y.
    In the same way you "may" choose to submit - in which case there is a fee of X or if you choose not to submit then no fee is payable - but then you don't get what ever certificate you opted not to submit for.
    • CommentAuthorMarkyP
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2017
    is there an obligation that you must seek confirmation conditions have been met? This is news to me. Sounds like it's optional, the sort of thing a solicitor acting for a buyer of your house would ask for when they spotted a recent planning application related to the transaction property.

    have a read of this:


    specifically section "When does a fee for written confirmation of compliance need to be paid?" Sounds like the fee is payble but only if you want or need written confirmation conditions have been met.
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2017
    Hello John who is Carol's husband. I think you're clutching at straws or perhaps at a desire for dispute. On the basis of the information we have then as Colin pointed out, the condition is one (or more) that the council are required to approve for detailed choice of materials before you build. Of course it is possible that the information we have is incomplete or that I have misunderstood it but on that basis it seems reasonable to me that you would have to pay the council for their work in approving such a pre-condition and inevitable that you will have to pay it possibly unless you spend considerably more on legal advice to challenge it. In short, IMHO, life's too short just pay the fee and get on with your life.

    The link MarkyP provided is to the same page I already linked and says what I already said, AFAICT.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2017
    Getting a planning condition discharged is legal proof that the condition has been met. If you don't get it discharged you might have problems when you come to sell. It can also help avoid other problems. For example suppose you had a planning condition requiring you to get your materials agreed. Let's say you get verbal agreement from the planning officer who then leaves his job or dies. There is no guarantee that his replacement will be of the same mind.

    The planning officer that came to visit my site agreed that the oak on my outbuilding could be stained a light colour or left to silver naturally. The planner I got when it came time to approve the materials wanted it barn black.

    The planners have 10 years to initiate enforcement action for breech of planning condition. At any point in those 10 years the planners could in theory decide they don't like your choice of materials and discover they weren't approved.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2017
    In this case I think the council were right to take action but see what can happen if materials aren't approved...

    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2017
    Seller has "lost" local council sign off...

    • CommentAuthorMarkyP
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2017 edited
    Posted By: djh

    The link MarkyP provided is to the same page I already linked and says what I already said, AFAICT.

    I confess I didnt properly read some of the other posts, I found the link after a few moments of internet searching, and posted a reply. However, if two of us can find the info with relative ease, which I have to say is pretty clearly worded, then hopefully John and Carol can soon conclude that they need to pay the fee if they want the condition explicitly discharged.
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2017 edited

    I know, I know.. the planning department have got up your nose by being awkward with your dreams, slapping you with fees and conditions and telling you you can't have what you want etc.. you want to stick it to them in any way possible, but in the grand scheme of things this is a very small fee, and getting your gourd all out of shape over it will only be detrimental to you.

    If you want your mile back that they took when you were offering your inch, it's a better tactic to play nice, play dumb, look like you're doing what a good obedient citizen is doing and then set about doing what you actually want in a quiet way, slowly over a few years. They said no to a nice big patio? Put in what is on the plan, but make sure you buy some extra flags to cover breakages, and the paths around the house, of course. Remember that you can reclaim the VAT on them as theyre part of an approved landscaping plan and lay the spare ones at the end of your patio next year when everyone's stopped caring.. want a 4 bedroom house? Submit plans for a 3 bed that has a couple of large, strategically placed wardrobe/ensuites separating your bedrooms, get your council tax banding based on a 3 bed, then get the sledgehammer out and alter it to a 4 bed.. even if you pick up an improvement indicator you'll carry on paying the lower rate of council tax til you sell; it's your buyer who picks up the extra charge

    There are a hundred legal ways to be creative with the accounting that goes with building your dream that will easily recover this fee; it's pointless to go head to head with The Man to try and beat it out of him upfront - it'll only cost you more

    Remember too, that it's 97 per application, not per condition. If you have several, discharge them simultaneously
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