Who has to obtain planning permission?

In most cases, planning permission will already have been obtained prior to any construction contracts being entered into. However, occasionally planning permission may not have been obtained. There may then be a question as to which party should be obtaining planning permission.

Sometimes contracts have clauses stating that the contractor will be liable to obtain all necessary permissions and licences. This may well cover planning permission, and such a clause would be dangerous to agree to, bearing in mind that planning permission may not be granted.

If the contract is silent, who is liable to obtain the planning permission? In Clin v Walter Lilly & Co Ltd the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that there would be an implied term in the contract requiring the employer to apply for planning permission. The implied term would be that the employer would use “all due diligence” to obtain the planning permission.

This is a very important point, because, if planning permission cannot be obtained and one party had a contractual duty to obtain it, then that party may be in breach of contract. This would then entitle the other party to take proceedings to recover their losses as a result of that breach.

If you have any queries on obtaining planning permission or any similar issues then please do not hesitate to contact me on 01245 453 813 or alternatively you can email me at peter.allen@birkettlong.co.uk

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.