Planning News

For all the latest planning news at national level please view the following websites:

Planning Portal
UK Housing and Planning
Royal Town Planning Institute

Latest Planning News/Updates at Three Rivers District Council:

14 May 2018


  1. Update on accepted payment methods
  2. Implications of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  3. Approach to Pre-Commencement Conditions

1) Payments

Please be aware that from 1 June 2018 Three Rivers District Council will no longer accept payment by cheque for planning application or pre-application fees. Payments can be made by the following existing methods:


As you may be aware, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted in April 2016 and is enforceable from 25 May 2018. The Council, as with all other businesses, is currently reviewing its processes and procedures to ensure we are compliant with its requirements.

The regulation applies to all personal data held by organisations, and planning applications by their very nature contain a large amount of personal data. Personal data can be defined as “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address” ( The personal data that you provide to us on planning application forms is mandatory, and is stored in such a way that we are able to automatically redact and/or erase after a set period of time.

However, often planning applications are accompanied by other supporting documents that contain personal data.

In order to help us to ensure compliance with the GDPR, we would request that, with immediate effect you ensure that any planning applications submitted to us contain only the personal data requested in the planning application form, and no other personal data relating to the applicant in any other location within the application (including names and addresses on drawings or other submission documents). If you consider it a necessary or vital part of your case to provide personal data, this should be done with the subject’s consent and should be provided in a separate document to the LPA clearly marked as containing sensitive personal data.

Please note the purpose of this email is not to give any advice to recipients on how to ensure they or their businesses are compliant with the GDPR. Recipients should seek their own independent legal advice to ensure they are compliant with all requirements.

We have used your contact details from a recent planning application to send this notification. However, because you gave us your contact details only to enable us to process your planning application, in the future we will not be able to use your details for any other purpose. As a result going forward we are not able to use your details for the distribution of updates from the department. Departmental updates will be posted on our Planning Home Page.

3) Pre-Commencement Conditions

Section 14 of the Neighbourhood Planning Act (2017) introduced Section 100ZA to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. When the new regulations come into effect on 1 October 2018 (following a public consultation), the grant of planning permission subject to a pre-commencement condition will be prohibited without the written agreement of the applicant to the terms of the condition, except in prescribed circumstances.

Our ability to impose conditions which require the submission of details before any works commence is likely to be restricted, however if we consider details are required before works commence and there is no agreement by applicants/their agents, it is likely that planning permission would have to be refused.

In any case, current Government Guidance is encouraging LPA’s to limit the use of conditions requiring the approval of further details. However our ability to do this is dependent on the level of information submitted as part of a planning application. As such, should you wish to submit additional details (for example full specification of site levels, materials, boundary treatments, hard and soft landscaping, and tree protection and construction works methodology) these details can be considered during the course of the formal application. The more information you are able to provide as part of your planning application, the fewer conditions we will need to rely on to make unacceptable elements acceptable. This will ensure that works can start promptly on site without the need for further submission to us.


Archived Three Rivers Planning Updates:

Planning and Pre-Application Fees to rise by 20%: January 2018

Regulations to introduce a 20% increase in planning fees were made on 20 December 2017. As a result, from 17 January 2018 the Council will be applying the new fee increases which can be viewed at the fee schedule.

The reference for the amended Regulations can be found via the following link:

Pre-Application fees will also be increased by 20% with the change coming into effect on 17 January 2018.  Information on the new pre-application fees can be found at Pre-Application Fees (Jan 2018).


Important information concerning affordable housing provision: July 2017 

Following changes to the National Planning Practice Guidance, with effect from 23 May 2016, financial contributions towards affordable housing were not being sought from developments of 10-units or fewer with a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than 1,000sqm. However, with regard to evidence (See below) the Council will fully re-apply parts (a) and (e) of Core Strategy Policy CP4 when determining all relevant planning applications from 4 SEPTEMBER 2017, and as such, sites delivering one or more dwellings will be required to contribute to affordable housing provision. For more information on the background to this decision see

Evidence for affordable housing policy (pdf)

Where a required affordable housing contribution would not be viable, a Viability Assessment / Financial Appraisal must be submitted with any application.  This viability information will be assessed by an independent financial advisor, the cost of which shall be borne by the applicant/developer. These costs are:

9 units or less: £1500 plus VAT
10 or more units: £2000 plus VAT
Large schemes: Fee to be negotiated on an individual basis

Changes to Permitted Development: April 2017

There have been a number of changes to the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended) including changes to the Householder Technical Guidance Document.
Technical Guidance (April 2017) (pdf)

The changes can be viewed via the following link:

Energy Statement Requirement:

Policy CP1 of the adopted Core Strategy requires all applications for new residential development of one unit and above and all new commercial development to be accompanied by a CPLAN Energy Statement and Sustainability Checklist to demonstrate the extent to which sustainability principles have been incorporated into the location, design, construction and future use of proposals, and the expected carbon emissions. 

The CPLAN Energy Statement and Sustainability Checklist will not be available from 21 March 2016. From this date, applicants will not be able to submit a CPLAN Energy and Sustainability Statement but should submit an Energy Statement demonstrating the extent to which relevant proposals meet the requirements of Policy DM4 of the Development Management Policies document which sets out that developments must produce at least 5% less carbon dioxide emissions than Building Regulations Part L (2013) requirements having regard to feasibility and viability. For building conversions, development proposals must still demonstrate that there would be an overall improvement in the energy performance of the building. Guidance on producing an Energy Statement is available at

Pre-Application Fees:

From 1 April 2016 certain pre-application fees will be increased. The majority of the fees are not changing, however, householder pre-application advice will be increasing from £79.20 to £90 (figures inclusive of VAT). Three additional fee categories will be added to the residential development category for schemes of 50+, 100+ and 200+ dwellings. 

Pre-Application Stage
Duty Planning Service

Please note that from 1 April 2016, Hertfordshire County Council Highways will be introducing separate charges for pre application requests. These fees would be in addition to the pre application fees above if you would like more detailed advice in relation to transport and highways matters.

Highway Pre Application Fees from 1 April 2016

Suggested Next Steps