Planning Permission, in simple terms, is like asking if you can do a certain piece of building work. It will be granted (possibly subject to certain conditions) or refused. Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop.  This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. Planning Policy is supported by legislation, this mainly takes the form of Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments.



local plans


Local Plans are the key documents through which local planning authorities can set out a vision and framework for the future development of the area, engaging with their communities in doing so. Local Plans address needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the local economy, community facilities and infrastructure. They should safeguard the environment, enable adaptation to climate change and help secure high quality accessible design. The Local Plan provides a degree of certainty for communities, businesses and investors, and a framework for guiding decisions on individual planning applications.



types of Planning Applications:


   / Full Planning Application shows the detailed proposals of how a site can be developed. If planning permission is granted, and subject to compliance with any planning conditions that are imposed, no further engagement with the local planning authority is required to proceed with the development granted permission, although other consents may be required.


   / Outline Planning Application is generally used to find out, at athe Concept Design stage, whether or not a proposal is likely to be approved by the planning authority, before any substantial costs are incurred. This type of planning application allows fewer details about the proposal to be submitted.  "Reserved matters" are those aspects of a proposed development which an applicant can choose not to submit details of with an outline planning application, (i.e. they can be ‘reserved’ for later determination and they include appearance, access, scale, landscaping and layout). These details may be agreed following a “reserved matters” application at a later stage or within maximum of 3 years from the date outline planning permission was granted.



process of planning application



















































For further information regarding planning application process, please click here


factors affecting planning permission


There are many factors that will affect whether or not we need to apply for planning permission or affect your chances of gaining planning approval.


It is our job to incorporate into the design the considerations for the following:


   / Design - Everybody's taste varies and different styles will suit different types of property. Nevertheless, a well-designed building or extension is likely to be much more attractive to you and to your neighbours.

   / Your neighbours - Let your neighbours know about work you intend to carry out to your property. They are likely to be as concerned about work which might affect them as you would be about changes which might affect your enjoyment of your own property.

   / Nature and wildlife - You may need to consider the effects on wildlife of any works you wish to carry out.

   / Environmental health - Environmental health covers the safety of people living or working in an area.

   / Roads and highways - Roads and Highways are the responsibility of the local highways authority, which will need to be consulted where highways are affected during or after construction work.



statutory consultees


Planning law prescribes circumstances where consultation must take place between a local planning authority and certain organisations, prior to a decision being made on an application. The organisations in question are under a duty to respond to the local planning authority within a set deadline and must provide a substantive response to the application in question.


The list below shows where there is a statutory requirement to consult particular bodies (Historic England or English Heritage is the most common) or persons on planning applications for certain types of development:


Adjoining landowners

Environment Agency

Health and Safety Executive

Historic England (previously English Heritage)

Natural England

Department of Energy and Climate Change

Canal and River Trust

Coal Authority

Control of major-accident hazards competent authority (COMAH)

County Planning Authorities

Crown Estates Commissioners

Forestry Commission

Garden History Society

Greater London Authority

Highways Authority

Highways England

Local Highway Authority

National Parks Authorities

Natural England

Parish Councils

Rail Infrastructure Managers

Rail Network Operators

port England

Theatres Trust

Toll Road Concessionaries

Water and sewerage undertakers



for more information please click here 



Permitted Development Rights


You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights" derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Also a change of land or building use is classed as permitted development if it's within the same use class


Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.


Permitted development rights are more restricted in 'designated areas' :

- Conservation Area

- National Park

- Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

- the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads


There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.


These mini-guides provide visual clarification of the permitted development rules for specific projects:


If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission you can apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC).


It is not compulsory to have an LDC but there may be times when you need one to confirm that the use, operation or activity named in it is lawful for planning control purposes.



Certificate of Lawful Development



Explains the process for obtaining a lawful development certificate for existing or proposed use:


  1. Establishing whether a proposed or existing development is lawful

  2. Definition of lawfulness and its limits

  3. Application and determination procedure

  4. Content of a certificate

  5. Conditions, appeals, revocation and status of pre-1992 certificates



Community Infrastructure Levy


Development may be liable for a charge under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a planning charge for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area. Most new development which creates net additional floor space of 100 square metres or more, or creates a new dwelling, is potentially liable for the levy.


Applicants will therefore be required to answer additional questions to enable authorities to calculate levy liability. These questions are found in the appropriate document, which should be submitted to your local planning authority alongside the planning application form.


Planning obligations, or Section 106 agreements


Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), commonly known as s106 agreements, are a mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable. They are focused on site specific mitigation of the impact of development. S106 agreements are often referred to as 'developer contributions' along with highway contributions and the Community Infrastructure Levy.

The common uses of planning obligations are to secure affordable housing, and to specify the type and timing of this housing; and to secure financial contributions to provide infrastructure or affordable housing. However these are not the only uses for a s106 obligation. A s106 obligation can:

  1. restrict the development or use of the land in any specified way

  2. require specified operations or activities to be carried out in, on, under or over the land

  3. require the land to be used in any specified way; or

  4. require a sum or sums to be paid to the authority (or, to the Greater London Authority) on a specified date or dates or periodically.


For further information on the Section 106 Agreement please click here



Change of Use Planning Permission


The Town and Country Planning puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes' (shops, restaurants and cafes, hotels, dwelling houses etc.) It is generally the case that you will need planning permission to change from one use class to another, although there are exceptions where the legislation does allow some changes between uses.



other types of applications


   / approval of reserved matters

   / discharge of conditions of Full Planning Application

   / amending proposals that have planning permission

   / amending planning obligations

   / lawful development certificates 

   / prior approval for some permitted development rights

   / advertisement consent

   / consent required under a Tree Preservation Order

   / hazardous substances consent





In some instances there may be a covenant on the land or building which restricts its future use. Covenants cannot be disregarded or removed unless this is done by agreement, discharged by the Lands Tribunal or the land comes into single ownership. This is a separate legal regime to planning. The existence of any planning permission does not remove this legal issue, and in some cases a planning permission may not be capable of being implemented without the removal of the covenant.



useful information and tools


For a simple and very informative 3D Interactive Planning guidance for a Typical House and a Typical Terrace.


To find your local planning authority, please click here


For information regarding a frailure to obtain or comply with planning permission, please click here





With all building work, the owner of the property (or land) in question is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant planning rules and building regulations (regardless of the need to apply for planning permission and/or building regulations approval or not).


The information on this page is taken from the Planning Portal'.  We have to contact your local planning authority and discuss your proposal before any work begins. They will be able to inform us of any reason why the development may not be permitted and if we need to apply for planning permission for all or part of the work.


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