Understanding The Planning Permission Process: In-depth Guide


The planning process can be confusing and if you want to do it properly you need to know exactly what you’re doing. In today’s post we’re going be looking at the process and giving you our tips on getting planning permission.

You can only really build the house of your dreams with planning permission and the rules for getting it can sometimes be unpredictable and easily misunderstood.

National and local planning are interpreted by local planning officers and councillors. Their interpretations can differ, and there can be misunderstanding and inconsistency between different authorities, as one person’s opinion on what should happen may vary from another.

With that in mind it helps if you have a flexible and open-minded approach to the whole process.

How long does it take?

The planning permission process should take around two months. The government has put pressure on performance which is now linked to planning and finance departments, so councillors can’t drag their feet for too long.

It’s easier to refuse a proposal than it is to negotiate, so keep an eye on your application from the moment you send it off, track it through the system. If they do refuse it, resubmit the application once you’ve worked your way through the problems they’ve identified. If you do have to apply a second time, then you won’t have to pay a fee.

Your local authority will consider your application carefully, and you’ll find that most of the more straightforward applications will be seen within an 8 week period.


How much does it cost?

The cost for a single full application is £385 in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What are the planning conditions?

Planning permission will be subject to conditions which must be agreed within a certain time period. They’re an important part of the process and if you don’t comply it can result in a breach of condition notice for which you cannot appeal. You may find that the conditions given to you are relatively simple and apply only to such things as the materials matching the existing ones.

Material considerations

There are material considerations which must also be considered and some of them are included here:

  • Loss of privacy
  • Loss of light
  • Parking
  • Highway safety, traffic, noise
  • Impact on Conservation areas and listed buildings
  • Nature conservation
  • Layout and density
  • Design, materials, appearance
  • Disabled access
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Any previous planning decisions
  • Government policy.

Neighbours are consulted and will be asked to comment during the process along with parish councils in England and Scotland. If there are no objections and approval is recommended, planning permission will be granted using what is known as delegated powers.


What if there are objections?

If there are objections then a decision will be made by the local planning committee using a majority vote. You or your agent will have an opportunity to speak with the planning committee but you will only be allowed around three minutes.

What if planning permission is refused?

You’ll find that most applications are granted, at around a 75% success rate, so that’s the good news. If it is refused, you can resubmit following amendment of the conditions given. You can also appeal to a planning inspectorate.

How long is permission granted?

You will have around three years to begin work and if you don’t start the work in that time period, you’ll have to reapply. Yes, that’s right, you’ll have to face reapplying for planning permission if you don’t ago ahead in that time.

What about changing my plans once I’ve been given permission?

You’ll have to apply for a non-material amendment if you want to make alterations which are minor. However, if you want to make bigger ones, then you’ll have to make another application for planning permission.

If I carried out work without asking for planning permission, what would happen?

It’s not lawful to carry out work to develop land unless you’ve had planning permission. If you do something like this, then the planning authority can have the work altered or even demolished.

However, if no one takes enforcement action within four years of you having completed it, then it would be immune from action and become lawful. But this is an awfully big risk to take.

If you alter a listed building then you will have committed a criminal offence, it could also lead to prosecution and fines or even a prison sentence.


Planning permission extensions

If you were granted permission on or before October 1st 2009, and it hasn’t run out you can apply to have it extended. There’s a £50 fee for this.

To summarise:

  • You can apply for planning permission on a piece of land you don’t own
  • Your application should take around eight weeks
  • Your neighbours will be consulted but it may not have too much impact, if any, on the final decision
  • You can withdraw your application at any time and resubmit free of charge
  • You can submit more than one planning application. You can use whichever one you want as long as its current.

We hope you found our guide for planning permission for home owners and land owners of interest. It should provide you with a good idea of what you need to do to get your planning permission application granted. If you need further professional advice and guidance, then get in touch and one of our professional team will be more than happy to help.
“The Information on this site is provided for information purposes only. The Information is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice.”


CALL OUR TEAM +44 (0)20 7722 3322


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