Planning Permission Mini Guide

When is planning permission required and how long does it last? Just a few of the questions we answer in this mini guide.

In this guide, we’ll look to cover everything you’ll need to know about planning permission. If you’re considering starting building work on a new property or thinking about getting an extension, this is a guide for you. 

What is planning permission?

When building new developments or making extensive changes to an existing building, you will usually require planning permission from your local authority. Decisions regarding whether planning permission will be granted or not is usually taken in line with national guidance. 

When is planning permission required?

Before doing any kind of building on your property, it is worth checking with your local authorities whether you will require planning permission or not. Under certain circumstances, you can build on your home without the need for planning permission. If you are planning on a single-story extension, you can add an 8m extension to a detached house, or you can add a 6m extension to a semi-detached house without any planning permission. There are also other circumstances in which you don’t need permission, however, it’s always better to check with your local council first. 

In the majority of cases, most houses have permitted development rights (PD), which often covers minor extensions, demolitions and changes of use including loft conversion, garage conversions and cellar conversions. However, in property types such as flats and maisonettes, PD does not apply in these circumstances so planning permission will still be required. 

Are there different types of planning permission?

House blueprint

As mentioned previously, PD can grant permission for smaller extensions and adjustments to properties, however, for larger scale projects, full planning permission will be required. Initially, the planning conditions will need to be discharged by the local authorities before any work takes place. Discharging the planning conditions grants permission in principle, but it doesn’t cover design specifics. 

Aside from this, there are two main types of planning permission – full planning permission and outline planning permission. 

Full planning permissions are the most common type of application submitted and covers every detail of a plan. This application will include accurately scaled drawings of the house plans and any supporting documentation that may be required. Risk assessments and lists of materials will also be included as part of a full planning permission application. 

Outline planning permissions are submitted early as a way to find out if your plans are likely to be approved by the local authorities, before you incur the higher fees of drawing up a full planning permission application. Outline planning permission applications are usually processed more quickly when compared to full plans, however, even if your proposal is accepted, you’ll need to get full approval on the details of your plan before you can begin work on your project. 

The process of applying for planning permission

At first glance, the planning permission application process can appear a bit daunting, but once you know what you are doing, it should be simple. Before starting the process, it’s important you do your research and seek advice regarding your plans. Once you are confident with the plans you want to submit, you should then look to start the application. To start the process, you can apply through your local authority or online through the government’s website. 

Once you have established whether you are submitting an outline or full application, you’ll need to wait for the local planning authority to validate your application. If any documents are missing, they’ll request them from you before approving your application. Once the local planning authorities are satisfied, they will acknowledge the application as valid. The next stage involves submitting the application to a planning officer or planning committee, who must commend the application before moving to the next step. Permission will then either be refused, in which case you will need to make changes and submit a new application, or you can appeal and try contest the decision. Alternatively, permission will be granted, either with conditions or you will be granted full permission to go ahead with your plan as intended.   

How much does planning permission cost to apply for?

The cost of submitting a planning permission application will depend on whether you are applying for full planning permission for a new single dwelling house, or full planning permission for extensions to a single dwelling house or a flat. In England, full planning permission for a new single dwelling house is £426 and permission for extensions is £206. The costs slightly differ in other parts of the UK but are all roughly around the same price. 

How long does it take to get approved?

The length of time can depend on a variety of factors, but local authorities usually advise of a target date whilst your application is validated. For small-scale projects, the time scale is usually around eight weeks from validation to decision. 

How long does planning permission last?

The duration of planning permission can vary, but in the majority of cases, permission lasts for three years. If you receive planning permission, you’ll likely need to start work within three years or you’ll need to start the whole process and apply again. 

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Planning permission guide