Obtaining Planning Permission 

 Planning Permission

If you decided to build something for example adding a caravan to your garden where somebody will live and you did this without getting the permission needed, you would most likely be forced to correct this some time later and it would prove troublesome and probably more costly than getting the permission in the first place.


If you are unsure whether you need planning permission or not, contact the planning department of your local council.

When you need to apply

Here are some common examples of when you would need to apply for planning permission:


  • Adding or extending a flat or maisonette, including those converted from houses
  • Dividing off part of your house for use as something separate e.g. a self contained flat
  • Using a caravan or a building in your garden where somebody else will live.
  • Building something which does not conform with the terms of the original planning permission for your house
  • When work that you want done would obstruct the road view of others or where others may object to the work being done.

 You can discuss any proposals with the planning department of your local council.


When you do not need to apply

There are some types of work that you may wish to do where you do not need to apply for planning permission. These are usually just the minor changes which do not affect others and therefore the council would not object to. This includes things like fitting an alarm box to your home, and this in known as a “permitted development right” which is simply a change that you can make without having to obtain planning permission.


Projects that can be carried out without planning permission include:


  • Loft conversions
  • Roof alterations
  • Patios and driveways


Making an application for planning permission

To make an application for planning permission, you need to apply to your local council who will then decide if your project is to be permitted to take place or not.

Here, your application will be approved and you can move on to the next stage of your plans, or your application will be rejected for certain reasons.


Property Ownership

If you do not own the property or if you have part-ownership then it is essential that you inform the owner or those who share ownership. Any leaseholder where the lease still has seven or more years to run and any agricultural tenant is included in this.


Application Form

The council will advise you if they think you need to apply for planning permission, if you do then ask for an application form. You will be advised about the correct application fee to pay and also about how many copies to send back.


It is a good idea to ask the council if they can foresee any difficulties with your application which could be overcome by making some amendments to your proposal as this will save time and trouble later.


Choosing the correct application 

There are two different applications that you can make:


  • Full Application
  • Outline Application


A full application will be needed for most; however there are a few circumstances where an outline application might be used.

An outline application is basically where the council will tell you what they think regarding the building work which you intend to carry out, this is useful if you want to know what the council thinks prior to you making any detailed plans and drawings.


A full application may be insisted on by the council at times even if you feel you would prefer to submit an outline application first, this is due to planning reasons.


What to do with the documents

Your completed application forms must be sent to your local council with the correct fee, each form must also be accompanied by a plan of the site and a copy of the drawings which show your proposed work.


What happens next?

After you have returned your application, the council will now begin making the decision which tends to take roughly eight weeks. Sometimes, this time period is not long enough and the council will seek your written consent to extend this. This might happen if your plans look as if they will affect a lot of people in your neighbourhood and for various other reasons.


Planning Permission Decisions

The Statutory Decision Register is where all decisions get recorded. Approved applicants are usually subject to certain conditions in many cases.

Guidance on what to do if you are unhappy in any way with the decision made can be found in the register.

Any development agreed in the past can begin at any time within three years of the date when the permission was granted unless the register says otherwise.


Other ways to obtain planning permission

There are other ways to obtain planning permission; they can be made online through the “Planning Portal”.

You will need to verify that your local council participates in this scheme.

Here, you can create an online application and you can send this electronically to your local council along with any attachments.