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Cambridge City Council

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Apply to discharge a planning condition

There are often conditions attached to planning permissions that need further details, for example, samples of materials. This additional information must be submitted to us for formal agreement - known as 'discharge of conditions'.

When planning permission is granted subject to conditions, it's the responsibility of the applicant, or any subsequent developer, to ensure that the terms of all conditions are met in full.  The conditions will outline specific points in your development when details should be submitted to us for approval.

For example:

  • Some conditions must be complied with before development is started.
  • Others regulate how the work is undertaken or require actions before a building is occupied or used

You should allow plenty of time for your submissions be considered and approved (discharged) by us. It's important you know where there may be long lead-in times during your development, for example when you need to order materials or engage a contractor for works arising from the specific conditions outlined and allow for this in your development planning.

If you start work on site or carry on with works without first discharging relevant conditions, we won't be able to formally discharge them - this may result in development delays or other difficulties.

We aim to deal with discharges of conditions in as timely a way as possible to enable applicants to start or progress works on site promptly.

How to apply

Applications to discharge a condition are best made online through the Planning Portal.

Please note:

  • If additional information is to be posted to us, clearly label any documentation with the Planning Portal reference number (format PP-12345678) (address given below).
  • The Planning Portal provides guidance about submitting online applications and electronic documents
  • When you apply through the Planning Portal, your application is transferred automatically to us.

Alternatively, you can apply in writing – but please don't apply through both routes.

  • Download an application form from the Planning Portal. Please ensure you have signed the application form (other documentation doesn't need a signature)
  • You'll need to send all other necessary documentation on a CD, ensuring you have clearly named each document so it's obvious which condition it applies to (address given below)

If you're sending documents to discharge multiple conditions at the same time, please provide a table or drawing/document register identifying which information relates to which condition. Technical documents should be clearly labelled on the top cover identifying which condition number and permission reference number the document relates to.

Example list of documents
Condition Document
Condition 3: Landscape
  • Landscaping plan 001 Rev A
  • Landscaping plan 002 Rev A
  • Landscaping plan 003 Rev A
Condition 5: Drainage
  • Drainage calculations
  • Landscaping plan 003 Rev A
Condition 9: Cycle parking
  • Visitor parking plan for Block B

Send paper application forms to Planning Application Support, Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge CB1 0JH. Include a CD containing all submission documents.


All fees need to be paid before an application can be considered. You can:

Content of submissions

  • Submissions should focus on the specific wording of the condition and ensure that if the condition wording covers multiple elements, these are either all addressed in the submission or the documentation is clear that it relates to a partial discharge only and to which parts of the overall condition.
  • Long or complex technical submission documents should include a non-technical executive summary at the front.
  • We encourage technical methodologies eg drainage calculations, noise and contaminated land assessments acoustic etc. to be agreed with relevant specialist officers in advance of formal submission, through a pre-application discussion (see below).

The process

We introduced some changes to our discharges of conditions process for submissions received on or after 3 August 2020.

As most planning agents will be aware, since the migration to Uniform in February, all discharges of conditions have been booked in by us on an individual basis, with each condition allocated its own planning reference number.

Due to the resourcing implications of this, we are now proposing to change the process back to what it was before Uniform. This means that each submission will be allocated a planning reference rather than each condition, so there will no longer be any subdivision into individual conditions. For example, if you submit 10 conditions in one individual submission, this will be processed as one submission with one decision notice issued at the end of the process.

  • On receipt, the application will be given a reference number.
  • This reference number will begin with the original planning reference to which the conditions relate e.g. if the original application is 20/1234/FUL the application to discharge conditions will be 20/1234/COND
  • If the application is to discharge multiple conditions they will be registered and determined under a single reference
  • When the completed application is received (including the relevant fee) it will be acknowledged by email.
  • A case officer will be assigned to determine the submission
  • You will be able to track consultation responses to the submission via our online planning application system.

The application will be determined as submitted.

If you need to discuss the content of the submission documents, this should be done as a pre application discussion before making the formal submission for condition  discharge.

Timescales and decision

  • A decision on your submission will normally be made within 8 weeks of submission
  • Our formal decision will be stated on a decision notice
  • The decision notice will list the approved documents (if applicable)
  • The decision notice will explain why the application was refused (if applicable)
  • The decision notice will be posted on our website
  • A copy of the decision notice will be emailed to the applicant