Planning permission is essential to the success of a development as without it, the project can’t go ahead and your land could become less lucrative.
If you’re a landowner baffled by planning permission understanding the essentials will help you build a solid foundation of knowledge that will lead to a positive planning outcome.
To guide you through the subject, here we look at the concept of planning permission, how to apply, and ways to navigate the application process successfully.
Let’s get started.
What is planning permission?
Planning permission is essentially official consent from your local authority to conduct a building project or development.
The most common types of planning permission are ‘full’, ‘outline permission’, and ‘reserved matters’, as well as the discharge of conditions, listed building consent and non-material amendments.
In most cases, the local authority will grant planning permission, but, if certain criteria isn’t met (depending on the type of planning permission you’re looking to obtain), an application can be refused.
How and where to apply for planning permission
If you want to understand how to get planning permission as a landowner, knowing how and where to apply is a good first step.
Traditionally (in the days of pen & paper!), you would apply for planning permission by post or by dropping the appropriate forms off at your local council office.
But, in the modern age you must go through the official digital portal to apply for planning permission. A central processing hub, the online portal is far less confusing than the original paper-based forms, allowing you to outline a project while submitting your documentation from one easy to navigate location.
When you submit an application through the portal, all relevant information and payments are sent onto the relevant authorities. And this process is widely accepted across the UK.
The planning permission portal also boasts handy tools like a fees calculator to give you an accurate impression of overall costs.
What do I need to apply for planning application?
What you will need to apply for planning permission will vary depending on the type of permission you’re looking to obtain, housing allocation policy, and the local authority in question.
That said, for all planning permission applications, you must submit a number of mandatory documents which are split into two levels: national and local requirements.
As a minimum, the national planning permission application requirements are as follows:
- The standard application form
- The production of a location & block plan
- A membership certificate that states who owns the property where planning permission is being applied for
- An agricultural holding certificate
- A design & access statement (dependant on what is being applied for)
- The application fee
Local level planning permission requirements tend to vary and will differ considerably depending on the type of application. Full applications usually require the greatest level of detail.
Specific details concerning your local requirements are available online and often found through the council’s official website—this list is usually known as the ‘validation requirements.’
If you fail to produce all of the documents or details set out in your local validation requirements, your application will not be validated and you will need to provide additional information.
Note: You can submit documents beyond the minimum requirements if you feel it’s necessary. For instance, if your land has a valuable tree on it, you may wish to submit an agricultural statement to address it, even if it’s not part of the validation requirements.
The planning application process
Once you’ve submitted your application though the online planning portal, it will be sent through to the relevant local authority for validation to check if everything you’ve submitted is compliant. If further information is needed, a validation officer will get in touch to request it.
Upon validation, your local planning authority will aim to determine the planning application as quickly as possible. In most cases, the determination time is around eight weeks but for more complex applications, the process can take up to 13 weeks. It’s also worth noting that in some cases—the most complex of applications—the process can take an excess of 24 months to determine.
Check out our guide for a full timeline of the planning application process timeline.
During this time, a number of statutory consultees (which will vary depending on the type of application) will have an opportunity to comment on your application and suggest conditions—in some cases, they may even object to the scheme.
If the local authority needs more time to determine a planning permission application, they can request an extension of time with the agreement of the applicant. Conversely, you can apply for an extension of time to submit further information or documentation if required.
If the local authority refuses your planning permission application, there are a number of things you can do.
For example, you can submit a free second go if you’re willing to do so within a year of your original application’s refusal or you can appeal the decision. Appeals also apply if the local planning authority fails to determine your application within the set time—this is called an appeal of non-determination.
But, be aware: planning permission appeals can prove costly and you should avoid them if possible.
How to get planning permission (increasing your chances)
To increase your chances of gaining planning permission without any unwanted setbacks, there are different avenues you can explore.
The most effective way you can get planning permission first time round is by talking to planners and land professionals that will be able to help guide towards the right form of development, whether it’s commercial, residential or other.
Doing so will ensure you make the correct application for the potential or scheme or development to be built on your land. Dedicated land professionals will also guide through the surveys that the national and local planning authorities will require to validate your application.
You can also promote your land for an authority-led call for sites process. Doing so will increase your chances of a site being allocated for development through the local planning process, dramatically boosting your chances of gaining a positive planning outcome in the process.
For your best possible chances of success, you should consult the advice of a land specialist or professional.
Quick planning application checklist
Now that you know how to get planning permission, here’s a handy quick-fire checklist for your reference:
- I’ve decided which type of planning permission I need to apply for
- I’ve researched the validation requirements of my local planning authority
- I’ve set myself up on the online planning portal
- I’ve gathered the appropriate information and documentation based on my specific application
- I’ve used online planning portal tools such as the fees calculator to check every aspect of my application
- I’ve submitted my application and payment in full
At Montague Land Partners, we specialise in planning permission applications for every type of development. If you need specialist advice or consultancy to guide you through the process with success, we can help. Please get in touch and we’ll be happy to get the ball rolling.