Updated: Oct 4, 2018
What is Planning Permission?
The building of a new dwelling and extensive changes to existing buildings usually requires consent from the local planning authority in the form of planning permission. This system is in place to deter inappropriate development.
When do I need Planning Permission?
If your project involves the creation of a new dwelling (by either building from scratch or subdividing an existing home), then planning permission is normally required.
Adding outbuildings or building extensions will require planning permission, depending on the size of the project and the level of Permitted Development rights afforded to or still remaining on a property.
Smaller additions and improvements can normally be made under your Permitted Development Rights.
What are Permitted Development Rights?
Permitted Development allows for smaller, minor improvements, such as converting a loft or modest extensions to your home, to be undertaken without clogging up the planning system. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each benefit from their own version of these rules.
The level of work that can be carried out under Permitted Development depends on a variety of factors including:
location (Areas of Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas have different rules)
the extent of work already carried out on a property.
Outline and Full Planning Permission – What’s the Difference?
Outline planning permission grants, in principle, the construction of a dwelling, subject to certain design conditions based on size and shape. The design information required with an Outline application however has to be so detailed that many developers decide a Full application is the best way to proceed.
If, however, your plot comes with Outline permission, you will need to examine the approval document, which will give you a good idea of the type of house you could end up building. ‘Full’ approval is likely on a design that follows these guidelines — but it is also true to say that other design schemes could be approved.
How Much will an Application Cost?
The cost of submitting a planning application will depend on the nature of your proposed development. The cost is currently £462 for a full application for a new single dwelling in England, but this fee is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For home improvers, an application in England for an extension currently costs £206, whereas in Wales the cost of a typical householder application is currently £190.
As well as fees for pre-application advice, further small sums are payable for the discharge of planning conditions which must be met before development begins.
What Does a Planning Application Include?
In general terms, an application should include:
five copies of application forms
the signed ownership certificate
a site plan, block plan, elevations of both the existing and proposed sites,
a Design and Access Statement
the correct fee
What are Planning Conditions?
Sometimes the planners will grant permission subject to certain criteria than need to be met/agreed to within a certain time frame. These conditions are extremely important. Failure to comply can result in what is called a breach of condition notice, to which there is no right of appeal — not to mention it could be enforced through the courts by prosecution.
Conditions might be as simple as requiring that materials must match existing ones, or that all boundary treatments must be agreed.
How are Applications Decided?
The local authority will base its decision on what are known as ‘material considerations’, which can include (but are not limited to):
Overlooking/loss of privacy
Loss of light or overshadowing
Impact on listed building and Conservation Area
Layout and density of building
Design, appearance and materials
Proposals in the development plan
Previous planning decisions
Neighbours will be consulted and invited to comment, together with parish councils (in England and Wales), but only those objections based on material considerations are taken into account. If the neighbours do not object and the officers recommend approval, they will usually grant planning permission for a householder application using what are known as delegated powers.
What If Someone Objects?
If there are objections or the application is called into a committee by one of the local councillors, then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee. At the planning meeting, you or your agent will be given an opportunity to address the planning committee, but this time is limited to a maximum of three minutes.
How Long Does it Take to Get Planning Permission?
Once your application has been submitted, the planning department will check that all of the information it requires has been received together with the correct fee. Local authorities are supposed to determine planning applications within 10 to 12 weeks of registration, and the majority of straightforward householder applications will be dealt with within this timeframe.
A sign is posted outside the address relating to the proposed development and any neighbours likely to be affected are written to and invited to view the plans and to comment. This is known as the public consultation process and it takes three to eight weeks. The authority will make statutory consultations to the local Highways department, and where necessary the Environment Agency as well as others.
What Happens if my Planning Application is Refused?
In England around 75% of applications are granted. If your application is refused, you can either amend and resubmit having dealt with the reasons for refusal, or you can make an appeal to the planning inspectorate. Around 40% of householder applications that are refused are later granted at appeal. At INTEGRATE.HOUSE we have a very high success rate as we always seek pre-application advice and integrate planning officers input into our final proposal.
How Long Does Planning Permission Last?
Planning permission is typically granted for three years — meaning you must begin work in that time or face reapplying.
Can I Alter my Plans once Full Permission has been Granted?
You can make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment. However, major alterations could involve a further application for Full planning permission, so discuss your plans with your LPA first.
What Happens if I Carry Out Works Without Approval?
While it is not illegal to develop land without planning permission, it is not lawful and, consequently, if you have failed to get consent for your project, then the local planning authority can take action to have the work altered or demolished. In this instance, you can make a retrospective planning application and if this is refused you can appeal the decision. If you lose, it can prove very costly.
There is a legal loophole: if no enforcement action is taken within four years of completion, the development becomes immune from enforcement action (10 years for a change of use). The development then becomes lawful — but this is too great a risk to take.
Altering a listed building without prior permission is, however, a criminal offence, and in extreme cases it can lead to prosecution and unlimited fines — and even imprisonment. So do ensure you apply for approval first.
INTEGRATE.HOUSE team are experts in residential planning permissions. Contact our team if you have any planning permission queries or call us on 07517477724.