Applying for Planning Permission

Experienced investors and property developers are all too familiar with the processes and challenges involved in getting planning permission. Obtaining planning permission is required if you want to construct new buildings, make extensive changes to a property’s structure, appearance or to the use of a property.

The careful control of such development activities allows the government and local planning authorities (LPAs) to ensure that any new property developments, building extensions, alterations and change of use are carefully controlled; that they are in keeping with their surroundings and in-line with current planning laws.

Planning Permission Considerations

Most of the time planning applications concern existing settlement areas and buildings that are already constructed as homeowners, property investors and developers look to add more space to their homes and add value to their property.

As a result, the granting of planning permission will often come down to a number of factors that relate directly to the local area and surroundings of the property. The local planning authority (LPA) and their planning inspectors are able to grant permission only if they feel proposals fit in with the general character of the area.

Planning inspectors will also consider whether the proposals or building designs have a detrimental impact on the permitted use of the area, neighbours and residents and they’ll also look at privacy issues.

Other less obvious considerations that impact whether or not planning permission is granted include whether the property lets sufficient light in; whether the property has sufficient parking without impacting on others and whether or not the quality of any outdoor space and amenities are affected.

How to Make a Planning Application

As well as understanding the basics of planning permission and why it exists, it’s important to understand how best to get planning permission if you need it, and what hurdles you will have to clear to achieve the required consents.

The first stage will be for you to make a formal application to the local planning authority.

They will require you to fill out an application form detailing your proposals; it will also require you to submit plans of your existing land or property together with details of your proposed development works, a statement of ownership, a location plan and the appropriate planning fee.

If you are unsure how best to go about submitting your planning application, rather than guessing and potentially wasting time and money, it’s worthwhile researching the process thoroughly, and if need be, contact the local planning authority for advice on how best to approach the submission of your application.

Alternatively, if your development project is complex or potentially contentious there are many firms of specialist planning consultants who provide expert advice and they will be able to guide you through the various planning stages.

A design and access statement will also be required, prepared by your architect it outlines how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site, its setting, and demonstrates that it can be adequately accessed by prospective users.

How do the Local Planning Authorities make their Decision?

Firstly, the local planning authority, usually via the council’s planning department will look to assess what neighbours and local residents think and feel about the proposals.

The council will allow around three weeks for local people to respond and air their concerns about the prospective development.

After these views have been taken into consideration, a planning officer will then visit the development site to review the local area, the submitted plans, the site layout and the original building for themselves – this will allow them to get a better idea of the development and what’s included in the application.

Through delegated powers, a planning permission may be granted by the local planning officer if the proposals are straight forward and there are no serious or contentious issues.

However, if any third party raises issues or concerns about the plans for development, the planning application will normally need to be passed onto the council’s planning committee, usually made up of local councillors, who will ultimately look at the case in greater detail.

How long will it take to get Planning Permission?

A decision as to whether or not you have been granted planning permission will normally be given within eight weeks of your submission, providing everything moves smoothly, and the council don’t require any additional information.

As a general rule of thumb, if a decision has not been reached within the eight-week timeframe, an appeal of non-determination can be set in motion.

If your planning application is refused you should initially try to come to an agreement with the local planning authority (LPA) by adjusting your development plans based on their feedback.

If this fails then there is a formal appeals procedure to the Secretary of State but you should be aware that appeals often take several months to be decided.

If you’re land owner considering applying for planning permission on a site, and you’d like to discuss partnering with See Space to reduce your risk and increase your chances of success get in touch via the contact us page.