Planning Direct Planning Direct

Planning Application

Why do I need a Planning Application?

The Planning system is designed to stop inappropriate development. Whilst planning guidance (both local and national) stops a lot of development it is also there, in theory, to allow sustainable development – in fact, there is now a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Local councils are responsible for three key elements of the planning system:

  • They must all have an up-to-date development plan;
  • They must within their plans identify at lest 5 years supply of zoned housing sites;
  • They must determine planning applications within set time periods.

Unfortunately, many councils do not achieve either of these three key elements. That can make it easier to get planning applications through. More on that later.


Do I need to make a Planning Application?

More and more small scale developments are covered under permitted development and do not require a planning application. They do however require a lawful development certificate in many cases. So what sort of developments do and do not require a planning application?

If you want to build a new house or office or make a major change to your home you will almost certainly need to make a planning application.

Some common projects that don’t need a Planning Application:

Extensions and conservatories

Extensions and conservatories are generally considered to be permitted development, however there are some rules of thumb that apply:

  • It must not be higher than the original building;
  • Materials must be the same or similar;
  • It cannot cover more than half the land (as it was when built);
  • Single storey extensions must not be higher than four metres, at the rear must not extend beyond the rear wall by more than three metres and to the side no more than half the width of the house;
  • Double storey extensions must not be less than 7m from the rear boundary;
  • No balconies or roof terraces;
  • Upper floor glazing must be opaque.

Garages, sheds and other outbuildings

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development. That includes sheds and garages. They must be less than 4 metres tall and take up less than half the land. Some local authorities have restrictions on proximity to boundaries.

Paving over the front garden

Porous materials are ok; impermeable surfaces, greater than 5sq m require planning permission.

Listed buildings

ANY changes to listed buildings need Listed Building Consent (effectively planning permission).

External walls and roof

Maintenance is always ok however if you are changing the appearance of a listd building, or a building within a conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty you will need planning permission.

Solar panels

Solar panels do not require planning permission unless you live in a listed property.

Fences, gates, and walls

Planning permission is necessary for any fence, gate, or wall:

  • Next to a road and over 1 metre high;
  • Over 2 metres and not next to a road;
  • If your house is listed;
  • If it forms a boundary with a listed building.


Who decides Planning Applications?

The decision as to whether a planning application is accepted is made either by a planning committee (made up of local councillors) or by council planning officers. Most councillors go with the recommendations of council planning officers so it is important, where possible, to impress them. For controversial decisions, it is important to ensure that both council officers and councillors attitudes to any given application are assessed before making the application.


How to make a Planning Application.

There are various ways to make a planning application and Planning Directs has a different approach to the herd. This is one of the reasons why we are so successful. If you’d like to know more get in touch here

All standard planning applications require a fee to be paid, a form to be completed and a site and location plan to be submitted along with any other relevant documents. It is impossible to list here the various types of information required of differing planning applications, but at Planning Direct, we aim to keep those requirements to a minimum. Often council officers will ask to a report (costing you money) which we can argue is unnecessary.


How long does it take?

Planning applications should be determined within 13 weeks. This often does not occur and there are means, to be avoided if possible, to get determination in 13 weeks. Council planning Departments are stretched. At Planning Direct, we aim to give council planning departments all relevant information for an application on day one so that your planning application gets to the top of the pile. Making a good accurate application is critical to getting approval and planning permission in good time. Click here for further details on the Planning Application Process.


What can go wrong?

Well, very little with our applications but objections (a legitimate part of the planning process) can make things difficult. However, we employ a number of techniques to minimise objections where appropriate.


What if I don’t get planning permission?

Planning Direct rarely has applications refused, however, we often deal with clients who have had applications refused when using another consultant or architect. One client was told (by three planners) that his chances were impossible after having his application refused. Within 5 minutes we had identified how to win and now he and his family are building their dream home. See here:


Often we can negotiate the issue with the council, get to the bottom of it and quickly get the matter resolved. If we believe the council has erred, or we spot a weakness in their position (see more below) and they won’t back down, we go to appeal. Please see www.planningdirect/planning/planning-appeal/ for more information.


How can Planning Direct make a successful planning application when others can’t?

Obviously, we don’t want to give away all our methods but they can be summarised as follows:

  • We have experience working with very large (port, road and railway) to very small projects;
  • With political experience we understand the politico-emotional context in which planning decisions are made;
  • We get on the detail and are up-to-date with case law;
  • We understand the difference between a technical (which some competitors do well) and emotional arguments. See more here:
  • We love winning! We like the challenge of difficult applications and we’re motivated by getting results for our clients – and at the right price!

You can find out more about what we can do – and for free. Contact us now about your planning problem and we’ll give initial advice completely free of charge:

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • “Wonderful news. Thank you for your incredible support and professional assistance”.

    You should consider using a Planning Consultancy to apply for Change of Use. There are a number of angles which we can adopt in order to put forward a succinct and thorough proposal to your local council in support if your application.

    Read how we won this case here

    Contact us to discuss your case on 01473 407911.

    Planning Direct wins another Change of Use Planning Application in London

  • “Amazing service, contact was kept throughout… always very helpful. All my questions were answered straight away… Absolutely I would recommend Planning Direct without a doubt”

    If you need to apply for retrospective Planning Permission, or indeed you need to appeal a decision Planning Direct can help you.

    Here’s how we helped this client – read more here

    Planning Direct wins retrospective planning appeal – “Amazing Service” says happy client

  • “I just want to thank your firm for the change of use you got us in Rush Green. Jamie has pulled it out the bag and sent us that good news today, he is so patient he just kept chewing at them until they said yes”.   

    If you have a  piece of land which you think could be developed Planning Direct could help you obtain the planning permission to realise its’ potential.

    Click here to read how we won this case.

    Is there room for a house in your garden?

  • “Andrew and Nikki worked hard and efficiently on our change of use application with a positive outcome and I believe this was all down to their expertise and experience, we would recommend them to anyone and would not hesitate to use them again in the future. Great work”.

    Are you looking to expand your business? Have you considered purchasing a neighbouring property and extending into it? Planning Direct can help you obtain Planning Permission for Change of Use.

    Read the full article here

    Suffolk business now able to expand thanks to Planning Direct

  • Thank you so much for your help with this – best investment I’ve made so far in engaging you – I thought your document to the Planning Inspectorate was first class and worth every penny.

    When our Planning Application was refused for the second time we felt the reasons for refusal were weak. We asked Planning Direct whether we had good grounds for appeal. Ben was extremely positive about the points of our case, he reviewed all of the documentation we provided him and also used his own extensive knowledge of other appeals and associated decisions.

    The result was an outstanding 15-page document that clearly set out the reasons for the Councils refusal along with the positive counter-arguments and references to precedent cases for presentation to the Planning Inspectorate.

    The end result…. our appeal was upheld and permission was granted. We would not be in this position without Ben’s fantastic attention to detail and his way with words in presenting the case.

    Mr K Swinburne, New Build Family Home

  • I just wanted to express my extreme gratitude to you for your help with our recent planning application to extend our home.

    From our first call, I was impressed with the way your handled our case and it was evident from the word go that you knew exactly what was needed to get our application granted.

    I especially appreciate your prompt and efficient service, considering the tight deadline that I gave you.

    I am sure that without the work that you did to support our original application and in response to the councils request to alter our application, we would not have been granted the planning permission for the size of extension that we wanted and would have had to settle for a smaller space that would not have worked for my family.

    Once again, thanks for your winning service.

    Tanvir Choudhury, Home Extension

  • With my sincere thanks to you Andrew for everything you done! No doubt I’ll be in touch again when this goes to committee. Best wishes, Leigh

    Leigh-Jane Miller, Gallions Point Harbour Ltd

  • Andrew worked tirelessly on documenting our objection statement and writing our respective three minute presentations for the Development Control Committee. Our sincere thanks go to Andrew Cann for his diligence, guidance, attention to detail and highly professional approach in helping Bardwell and Stanton Parish Councils with this planning application.

    Andrew Smith on behalf of Bardwell and Stanton Parish Councils

  • I want to place on record my thanks to you for all you have done to advise and assist Pakefield Opposing Tesco in our campaign to stop Tesco taking over the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield, Lowestoft.
    The reports you produced were professional, well researched and very knowledgeable about the processes and operations of local authority planning departments and development control committees.
    Your work made a major contribution to our campaign which has so far successfully prevented a much loved local building and community facility becoming just another retail store that the local community doesn’t want or need.
    Thank you for your work.
    Best wishes
    Bob Blizzard

    Bob Blizzard – Chair, Pakefield Opposing Tesco

  • I worked with Andrew when the Crossrail Bill, which at the time would have had a severe effect on rail freight, was being considered by the House of Lords. He is a canny operator (pun intended) and was quick to grasp the case and how best to present it to peers who were intelligent but ignorant of the facts. I would recommend him for a project management or strategic role in the ports or freight sector or in an equivalent industry.

    Angus Walker Partner / Head of Department at Bircham Dyson Bell



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