A model planning condition for digital infrastructure

30 January 2018

Following from my previous post about the ability of the UK planning system to deal with digital infrastructure like the InLink, it seems there may be a mechanism to give communities a say over what sensors, data collection practices and targeted advertising they invite in.

It’s the same one we use to regulate things like the opening hours of shops: ‘[planning conditions’.

Planning conditions allow a local authority to list the things that must not change without prior agreement - things like opening hours or the number of carparking spaces in the car park.

Own a shop and want to open after 23:00? Then you’ll need to submit a new application to the council for public comment.

Want to add a couple more parking spaces to the carpark?

Time for another application.

So, could planning conditions be used to regulate important changes to digital infrastructure?

Could they be used to, for example, force the maintainer of a connected phone box to apply for permission to enable the use of facial recognition cameras?


There are not many examples of planning conditions being used to regulate connected infrastructure, so back in December Adrian Short, myself and others started writing a ‘model condition’ using a public Google Doc. Several people have helped by adding to it.

You can view and improve it here and hopefully. Given the increase in ‘phone box’ applications, hopefully some local authorities might find it useful.