A Brief Guide To Planning Permission in the UK

planning permission

When is Planning Permission Needed?

When it comes to the erection or alteration of a building, planning permission, or planning consent, is required from the local authorities. It also required for a change of use of buildings or land.

Is planning permission always a requirement?

Certain types of project don’t require express planning permission as they qualify under something called permitted development rights (PD). In recent years, the government has extended what is permissible under PD in a bid to speed up the planning process.

Permitted development – is my project covered?

As a general rule, PD rights cover minor extensions, demolition and certain changes of use, such as a loft, garage or cellar conversions.

You can make use of the government planning portal to check current regulations, and additionally consult with your local council to ascertain the likelihood of acceptance of any given project. The maximum size permissible for a single-storey extension has been doubled until 2019, in an effort to speed up planning processes.

It means you can add an eight-metre extension to a detached house (previously four metres) or a six-metre extension to a detached property (previously three metres), without planning permission. Flats and maisonettes don’t benefit from PD rights, meaning you will need planning permission. Although Green Belt land is unaffected, there is a reduction in PD rights in National Parks, Conservation Areas as well as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

How do I apply for planning permission?

An application needs to be submitted to your local authority. The forms are typically the same across all local authorities and can be accessed, completed and uploaded via A location plan using a current ordnance survey map, along with scaled plans of your proposal must be submitted.

The cost of planning permission

This will vary from application to application. An application for an extension for instance is ordinarily £195, in contrast to £385 for a full application for a new build. Applications for Conservation areas as well as listed buildings won’t incur fees, and also Welsh authorities operate a different fee schedule.

When will I have my decision?

A target determination date is normally provided by the local authorities upon validating the application. From validation to decision, you can expect the timeframe to be approximately 8 weeks in the case of smaller projects.

Application refusals – what next?

You have the ability to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate. Normally you will be able to find out if you can appeal immediately as it’s stated within the refusal notice – the appeal will need to be submitted within the time period specified. The appeal assessment will be conducted by the independent planning inspector, who will consider the overall impact of your proposal in line with local and national policies.

What is Section 106 and do I need to worry about it?

When it comes to some planning applications, there will be a legal agreement running concurrently, known as a section 106 agreement. Monetary contributions can be secured by local authorities to offset any financial impacts upon the local area that a proposal may have, or section 106 agreements can be used to control restrictions on planning consent. Normally, Section 106 agreements are reserved for larger applications. In order to secure affordable housing contributions for developments of single plots, local authorities have been known to liberally apply section 106 agreements so it’s always worth checking.