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A reserved matters application is submitted following the submission and approval of an outline application. If you’re not sure what an outline application is, find out using the button below before reading this section. 

When you submitted your outline application, you will have reserved one or more of the following “matters”:

  • Appearance – what it looks like
  • Access – how pedestrians, cyclists and cars enter, leave and move around the site
  • Landscaping – covering hard landscaping (driveways, paths, fences etc.) and soft landscaping (trees, hedges, lawns etc.)
  • Layout – how the buildings, routes and spaces are arranged
  • Scale – size, height, width and length of buildings.

Now that you have outline planning permission, all of these matters must be worked out and agreed with your local council before you can commence the development. 

This is achieved with the submission of one or more reserved matters applications.


Firstly, all the details you submit at reserved matters stage must be in line with the outline permission. For example, if you received outline planning permission for “a 3 storey flat block”, you cannot submit a reserved matters application for a 4 storey flat block. Similarly, if you received outline planning permission for “up to 35 houses”, you could submit a reserved matters application showing 20 or 35 houses, but not 36. 

Otherwise, your application should include sufficient written statements, drawings and details to enable your local council to properly assess the various reserved matters, including the appropriateness of their form/design.

The LPA will consider the appropriateness of the details* and their impacts on the local environment**.

*for example, are trees appropriate local species?

**for example, are the construction materials in keeping with the street and is the site laid out to avoid overlooking of neighbours?


If your reserved matters application is refused, you normally have two options:

  • Submit a revised reserved matters application to your local council
  • Appeal your local council’s decision within 6 months. 

The preferred option in any one case will depend on a number of factors, including how much scope there is to amend the application and whether there is a significant time pressure to commence development. 

We always recommend that you submit reserved matters applications as soon as possible after receiving your outline consent. This will give you plenty of time to make any necessary revisions or appeals before the deadline expires*.

*the deadline for submission of reserved matters is normally 3 years from the grant of outline consent.

If you’re not sure whether to pursue an appeal or a revised application, get in touch for some advice as soon as possible. 

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