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Want to find out more about our planning application services?
Planning Direct offers a wide range of affordable services to assist you with your planning applications.
This page contains general information about planning applications including what they are, when they’re required and how much they cost.
If you want to find out more about the individual planning application services offered by Planning Direct – including design guidance, planning statements, drawings, travel plans, flood risk assessments and case management – follow the link below.
WHAT ARE PLANNING APPLICATIONS?
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.
Find out more about the most common types of planning applications using the main menu of our website or the 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:
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
- Construction of a new commercial building
- Change 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 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 for planning permission varies
The need to apply for planning permission will 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 sites or areas within their control.
In addition, there are 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:
WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT WITH MY PLANNING APPLICATION?
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 roof-plan even if the Local Validation List suggests otherwise.
Broadly speaking, most planning applications must be accompanied by the following core documents:
- Written statement(s) to cover –
- Planning policy
- Planning drawings in the appropriate format, at the appropriate scale and with all necessary details*
*planning drawings 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 additional reports, drawings or statements will be required such as:
- Heritage impact assessment
- Flood risk assessment
- Arboricultural impact assessment
- Tree survey & tree protection plan
- Landscaping plan
- Traffic survey
- Travel/transport plan
- Ecological survey
- Structural report
This list is non-exhaustive.
HOW CAN PLANNING DIRECT ASSIST WITH YOUR PLANNING APPLICATION?
Planning Direct offers bespoke planning application products and services to suit a variety of planning needs. 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.
Click the button below to find out more about some of our most popular planning application services and products.
Whether your planning application needs are small or large, we are here to help. Contact us today to find out what we could do for you. Our initial advice is always free of charge.
WHAT IS THE PLANNING APPLICATION FEE?
All planning applications (NOT applications for listed building consent) attract a fee. This fee must generally 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, fees do change occasionally. If you want certainty about the fee associated with your particular application, get in touch.
In addition to the main fee, all planning applications attract a service charge. This is currently £64 inc VAT.
Please be aware: planning application fees are due to increase on 6th December 2023. We will update the below table as soon as possible. Follow this link for the updated price list from 6th December:
Fees for the most common planning applications
|Application type||What it covers||Fee|
|Householder||Most minor changes within the grounds of an existing house, including extensions, loft conversions, garages, fences etc.||£206|
|Full application for new dwelling/s||New dwelling/s with full details of the development provided, including access, appearance, scale, layout and landscaping||Up to 50 dwellings = £462 for each dwelling|
£22,859 + £138 for each dwelling after 50
Maximum fee £300,000
|Change of use (except to dwelling/s)||Changing the use class of a site or building to any use except use as a dwelling/s||£462|
|Change of use to dwelling/s||Changing the use class of a building to use as a dwelling/s||Up to 50 dwellings = £462 for each dwelling|
£22,859 + £138 for each dwelling after 50
Maximum fee £300,000
|Full application for new commercial building/s||New commercial building/s with full details of the development provided, including access, appearance, scale, layout and landscaping||Gross floorspace increased by ≤ 40 sqm = £234|
Gross floorspace increased by 40 – 75 sqm = £462
Gross floorspace increased by 75 – 3750 sqm = £462 for each additional 75 sqm
|Outline application||New commercial buildings and dwelling/s without full details of the development provided||Site area is ≤ 2.5 ha = £462 for each 0.1 ha|
£11,432 + £138 for each 0.1 ha over 2.5 ha
Maximum fee £150,000
HOW LONG DOES A PLANNING APPLICATION TAKE?
The government has set the following 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 more|
|Everything else||Additional floorspace of 1000 sqm or more OR site area of 1 ha or more|
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 assess your application in detail and issue a decision in place of your 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.
Click the button below to find out more about appealing to the Planning Inspectorate.
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.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION ON PLANNING 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 based on their recommendation. The decision letter will clearly state if permission is granted or refused. Furthermore, if permission is refused, the letter must give reasons why. This is known as a delegated decision.
Decision by Planning Committee
Occasionally, applications are determined by Planning Committee. In these circumstances, 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 in front of the Committee. You can find out more about being represented at a committee meeting using the button below.
Following this, all members of the Planning Committee will vote by majority to approve or refuse the planning application.
When are applications decided by Planning Committee?
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 or employee of the council or is related to a member or employee of the council
- The application has received a significant number of local objections (some councils set a specific threshold)
- The development is especially large, complex or controversial
- A local councillor or a member of the Planning Committee has “called-in” the application to be decided by the Committee. All local councillors are entitled to “call-in” planning applications. However, they usually only do so when lobbied by local residents
DO I 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.
In all cases, you need to submit a valid application in order for it to be registered and considered by your local council. However, it is not always clear what is required in order for an application to be made valid. Consequently, many frustrated applicants spend 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.
Consider a consultant if your application is complex
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. Therefore, we 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 is in open countryside
- The site is in flood zone 2 or 3
- The development does not appear to be supported by national or local planning policy
- You anticipate the receipt of a significant number of local objections
- There are clear landscape, heritage or ecological impacts. For example, the site is in a conservation area, the development affects a listed building or requires removal of good quality trees.
If you’re not sure whether any of 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.
Additionally, the government’s online Planning Portal (link 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.”
WHAT IF PLANNING PERMISSION IS REFUSED?
If planning permission is refused, then there are two main options available to you. The best route to take in any case will depend on the specific reasons 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
Firstly, make some revisions to the application and then apply to the council for permission again. We typically advise you to take this route if the application has been refused on one of the following grounds:
- Lack of information. For instance, you may have needed a bat survey that was not conducted or the council may feel 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
- Easily resolvable design concerns. For instance, the council may have felt 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, then you will not normally need to pay another application fee to the council. We typically refer to this as a “free go” planning application (you only get one free go).
Option 2: Appeal
Secondly, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the council’s refusal of planning permission. Above all, an appeal seeks to overturn the council’s decision. This route is typically advisable if any of the following matters apply:
- The council is objectively wrong. For example, the council might be claiming that your development would not be in keeping with the area but you are aware of other very similar buildings along the street
- 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 “inappropriate” simply because it adopts a contemporary style
- The local planning context has changed since the application was submitted or decided. For instance, the local housing supply figure may have changed or a new Local Plan containing different policies may have been adopted
There is no processing fee to submit an appeal against the council’s refusal of planning permission.
Depending on the application type, you must normally submit your appeal within 8 weeks, 12 weeks or 6 months of the decision date. At the time of writing, the deadlines are:
|What are you appealing?||Appeal deadline|
|Advertisement consent||8 weeks|
|Householder – including domestic extensions, loft conversions, garages, gates etc.||12 weeks|
|Minor commercial – including shopfront alterations, ground floor extensions||12 weeks|
|Other planning applications – including full, outline, change of use and discharge, removal or variation of conditions||6 months|
|Lawful development certificate (unless it affects a listed building)||None|
|Listed building consent||6 months|
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. If you do not submit a written statement, your appeal may be turned away.
Click the button below to find out more about submitting a planning appeal with Planning Direct.