An Essex council’s imposition of a condition requiring the submission of an ecological enhancement scheme on the reserved matters approval for nine bungalows was no doubt borne of the best of motives. Deleting the condition and awarding costs to the appellant, however, (DCS Number 400-028-159) an inspector pointed out that Planning Practice Guidance is clear that the only conditions which can be imposed when reserved matters are approved are conditions which directly relate to those reserved matters.
The inspector accepted that the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance encourage biodiversity net gains, noting the council’s suggestion that the ecological enhancement and management scheme might include small features such as bee-friendly planting, hedgehog-friendly fencing and the provision of bat boxes.
The inspector found, however, that the wording of the condition had no specifics or limitations of what would be required and it was not in any way apparent that it directly related to any of the reserved matters. The condition was deemed to be unreasonable and it was deleted.
The tests for conditions are given at section 6.1372 of DCP Online.