Use the drop-downs to find out more about planning applications.

WHAT ARE THEY?

If you want to make any changes to a site or property that require planning permission, you’ll need to submit a planning application. There are many different types of planning application, covering a wide range of changes.

You can find out more about the most common types of planning applications using the drop-down menu or buttons below.

If you want to make any changes to a listed building, you will almost always need to apply for listed building consent. If those changes also require planning permission, you’ll need to submit a separate planning application. Find out more about listed building consent here:

Get some listed building consent help

WHAT CHANGES REQUIRE PLANNING PERMISSION?

There are some changes – typically referred to as “developments” – that will invariably require planning permission but it is not always so clear.

The sorts of developments that will always require planning permission include:

  • Construction of a new dwelling or standalone commercial building; and
  • Change of use of a site or building from one use class to another (e.g. residential to commercial), unless this is a permitted development right.

Many sites and buildings will benefit from permitted development rights. Permitted development rights enable specific changes to be made to your site or property without any need to apply for planning permission. You must ensure that your changes comply with all of the applicable rules. 

You can find out more about permitted development rights and rules here:

If you are confident that your changes are covered by permitted development rights, we would still advise you to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate prior to commencing works. This is a relatively straightforward and inexpensive process that could save you a lot of time, money and stress in the long run. You can find out more about the benefits of applying for a Lawful Development Certificate here:

The need to apply for planning permission will also vary depending on the site and local context. For example, some changes within a Conservation Area will require consent where otherwise they would not. Similarly, flats have no permitted development rights at all, whilst listed buildings have reduced permitted development rights. Local councils also have powers to restrict or remove permitted development rights from specific sites or areas. 

There are various other factors, including restrictive conditions that may have been attached to previous planning consents on a site, that could affect the requirement for planning permission in any one case. 

If you are uncertain whether the changes you want to make require planning permission and/or listed building consent, you should always check before you start work. It costs nothing to check, whereas the consequences of failing to apply for the necessary consents can be costly and severe. 

It is a criminal offence, for example, to carry out works requiring listed building consent without first obtaining that consent. The maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. 

If you need help to work out whether your changes require planning permission and/or listed building consent, you can get in touch with us here:

Get in touch

WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?

A planning application is usually submitted online to your local council. What you need to submit will vary considerably depending on the type of application, the site details and the local context. 

Each council publishes its own Local Validation List. This contains a list of all the items that should be submitted for each type of planning application.

There are also national requirements, currently described in planning legislation.

Local Validation Lists are advisory only and require a common sense approach to be taken. For example, if no changes are proposed to any roof then you are unlikely to require a roofplan even if the Local Validation List suggests otherwise. 

Broadly speaking, most planning applications must be accompanied by the following core documents:

  • Written statement(s) covering all relevant planning, design and access matters
  • Planning drawings at the appropriate scale and with the necessary properties (these must show the site and the development in sufficient detail to enable its proper assessment by the decision-maker).

It is often the case that further supplementary reports, drawings or statements are also required such as:

  • Heritage Impact Assessment
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Arboricultural Impact Assessment
  • Tree Protection Plan
  • Landscaping Plan
  • Traffic Survey
  • Transport Plan
  • Ecological Survey
  • Structural Report

This list is non-exhaustive.

HOW CAN PLANNING DIRECT ASSIST WITH YOUR APPLICATION?

Planning Direct offers bespoke planning application services to suit your particular needs in each case. Many clients instruct us to design, prepare, submit and manage their application from start to finish. Others only require a brief written statement, a single drawing or representation at a committee meeting.

Whether your planning application needs are small or large, we are here to help. Contact us using the button below to find out what we could do for you. Our initial advice is always free of charge.

You can find out more about some of our most popular services and products here

WHAT IS THE APPLICATION FEE?

All planning applications (NOT applications for listed building consent) attract a processing fee. This must be paid to your local council upon submission of the application. Planning application fees vary and are revised occasionally. 

Fees for some of the most common types of planning application appear in the table below. 

Please be aware that although we make every effort to keep this page up-to-date, if you want certainty about the fee associated with your particular application, you should contact us.

HOW LONG DOES AN APPLICATION TAKE?

The government has set the following key statutory time limits for decisions to be issued on planning applications:

  • 13 weeks for major development
  • 8 weeks for everything else.

There are some exceptions to this general rule.

Broadly speaking, major development is calculated as follows:

New housing

10 or more dwellings OR site area of 0.5 ha or greater

Everything else

Additional floorspace of 1000 sqm or greater OR site area of 1 ha or greater.

It is commonplace for councils to exceed the above statutory time limits. If the council fails to determine your application within the statutory limit, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of “non-determination”. The Planning Inspectorate will then assess your application in detail and issue a decision in place of the council. However, it is usually still less costly and less time-consuming to agree an extension of time with the council and allow them to proceed to determine the application. 

Planning Guarantee

If your local council fails to issue a decision within 26 weeks of a valid application, you may be entitled to a refund of your planning application fee. This is known as the Planning Guarantee. No refund will be possible if you have agreed to an extension of time.

Find out more about the government’s Planning Guarantee using the button below.

Outside link

WHO MAKES THE DECISION ON APPLICATIONS?

An officer of your local council’s planning department will be assigned to consider your application. They will consider all of the documents submitted by the applicant and will also take account of any comments made by their statutory consultees (such as the Highways Authority) and local residents. 

They will then write a report that will address all of the planning matters involved in your case, such as the appropriateness of the design and the impact on neighbours. This report will conclude with the officer’s recommendation concerning whether planning permission should be approved or refused. 

In most cases, the same officer will then proceed to issue the decision letter – which formally confirms that the application is either approved or refused – based on their recommendation. 

Occasionally, applications are determined by Planning Committee. An officer of the planning department will still be assigned to consider your application and they will still write a report concluding with their recommendation. 

The Planning Committee will then meet to consider the application, including the recommendation of the assigned planning officer. The planning officer, applicant (or their representative) and any interested local residents are normally given the opportunity to speak on the application before the Committee. You can find out more about being represented at a committee meeting using the button below.

All members of the Planning Committee will then vote by majority to approve or refuse the planning application. 

Each local council will have slightly different rules concerning which planning applications are to be determined by Planning Committee. Broadly speaking, applications will be determined by Planning Committee if any of the following apply:

  • The applicant is a member/employee of the council or is related to a member/employee of the council
  • There have been a significant number of local objections (some councils set a specific threshold)
  • The development is especially large, complex or controversial
  • A local ward councillor or a member of the Planning Committee has formally requested that the application is determined by the Planning Committee (at their discretion).

DO YOU NEED A PLANNING CONSULTANT?

You are never required to employ a planning consultant. You are entitled to prepare, submit and manage your own planning applications.

However, you need to be sure that you submit a valid application in order for it to be registered and considered by your local council. It is not always clear what is required in order for an application to be made valid and applicants frequently spend considerable time and money sourcing documents they didn’t need, whilst failing to provide the documents they did. Working out exactly the right documents to submit in order to spend your time and money efficiently is, in part, where the expertise of a good planning consultant can really help.

Employing a planning consultant should also significantly increase the chances of an application being approved. This is especially the case where the development is large, complicated or potentially controversial. We would strongly recommend that you employ a planning consultant if any of the following matters apply:

  • You have had permission refused in the past for a similar development on the same site
  • The site lies in open countryside
  • The site lies in Flood Zone 2 or 3
  • Relevant local or national planning policies seem to be unfavourable 
  • The site or development is large or complex
  • A significant number of local objections are anticipated
  • There are clear heritage, landscape or ecological impacts (for example, it is in a Conservation Area, it would affect a listed building or cause harm to high value trees). 

If you’re not sure if these matters apply to your site or development and you’re not certain how to find out, a good planning consultant will conduct this preliminary research on your behalf. At Planning Direct, we call this a Planning Assessment. You can find out more about our Planning Assessments using the button below.

The government’s online Planning Portal (access via the button below) provides the following advice on using planning consultants:

“you should engage a planning consultant if securing permission for your project will not be straightforward, especially if it will require the interpretation of planning policy and local development plans. Having an expert on board will not only help the planning process run more smoothly, it will also provide you with a valuable sense of reassurance.”

Planning Portal link

WHAT IF PLANNING PERMISSION IS REFUSED?

If planning permission is refused, there are two main options available to you. The best route to take in any case will normally depend on the specific reasons given by the council for the application’s refusal. 

If Planning Direct has been instructed to prepare, submit and/or manage your planning application and it has been refused, we’ll always take the time to discuss the decision with you and advise you on the best route forward.

Option 1: Re-submission

Make some revisions to the application and then apply to the council for permission again. This route is typically advisable if the application has been refused on one of the following grounds:

  1. Lack of information. For example, you may have needed a bat survey that was not conducted or the council may feel that a traffic survey is required to confirm that vehicle speeds are as stated. Providing any “missing” information or documents in a revised application should quickly resolve this reason for refusal
  1. Easily resolvable design concerns. For example, the council may have felt that the building was positioned too close to the site boundary. If there’s space to move it and you’re happy to do so, altering its position in a revised application should quickly resolve this reason for refusal. 

If you submit a revised planning application on the same site within 12 months of your previous application’s refusal, you will not need to pay another processing fee to the council. This is typically referred to as a “free go” planning application (be aware: you only get one free go).  

Option 2: Appeal

Submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the council’s refusal of planning permission. This will seek to overturn the council’s decision. This route is typically advisable if any of the following matters apply:

  1. The council is wrong. For example, the council might be claiming that your development would not be in keeping with the area but you may be aware that other very similar buildings already exist along the street
  1. The reason for refusal is highly subjective or opinion-based and – importantly – you disagree. For example, the council might be claiming that the design is “poor” or “inappropriate” simply because it adopts a contemporary style
  1. The local planning context has changed since the application was submitted. For example, the council may have had its required housing land supply when it refused your application for new dwellings. If that supply has since fallen below the minimum figure, this may be enough to see your decision reversed on appeal.

There is no processing fee to submit an appeal against the council’s refusal of planning permission. 

Depending on the type of application, you must normally submit your appeal within 8 weeks, 12 weeks or 6 months of the council’s decision. Broadly speaking: 

  • the 8-week deadline applies to applications for advertisement consent (new signage)
  • the 12-week deadline applies to minor householder applications (typically extensions, loft conversions, outbuildings, gates etc.) and minor commercial applications (typically shopfront alterations)
  • the 6-month deadline applies to nearly everything else. 

There is normally no deadline to submit an appeal in the case of an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

All appeals must be accompanied by a grounds of appeal statement. This should set out – in planning terms and by reference to the appropriate planning policies – your reasons why the council’s decision should be overturned. 

Find out more about submitting a planning appeal with Planning Direct using the button below.

Back to top