A Guide to Securing Planning Permission

Whether you are undertaking an exciting new-build project or you are simply converting loft space, you may need to apply for planning permission. To make sure your next property venture can begin, follow our simple guide to securing planning permission.

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When You Should Apply for Planning Permission

It is highly likely that you will need planning permission if you hope to:

  • Change the purpose of your building (unless permitted development rights are available)
  • Make a significant change to your home – e.g. build a large extension
  • Build a new property

To gain planning permission, you should contact your local planning authority (LPA). You can also apply for planning permission online.

If your LPA confirms that you will need planning permission for your project, you must continue with your application and adhere to the rulings of the LPA. If you go ahead with works without first obtaining planning permission, you may be served with an enforcement notice that could potentially force you to “undo” all of the changes that you have made to the property.

When Planning Permission Is Not Needed

Some buildings and projects do not need planning permission. This is known as “permitted development rights”. Projects that automatically have permitted development rights usually include (although as mentioned always double-check the position with your LPA):

  • Certain signs and outdoor advertisements. There are special rules surrounding these, so it is important to ask your LPA for further information.
  • Industrial buildings or warehouses. There are also special rules surrounding these buildings and your LPA will still need to be informed about your plans – it may be possible to convert office space into residential flats under permitted development rights.
  • Buildings that are being demolished. However, ahead of demolishing a building you must ask your LPA if a demolition is permitted. For example there may be other considerations such as the building is listed or in a conservation area.
  • Other smaller projects that will not affect your neighbours or the surrounding environment in any way.
  • If your project aims to help the local community, you may not have to go through the usual planning permission process. Contact your LPA to find out if this could apply to you.
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After Your Application

After you have applied, the LPA will consider whether they will grant planning permission or not. They will consider numerous factors including :

  • If your project would affect the surrounding area negatively – e.g. would it increase traffic congestion?
  • The purpose of the building
  • Any landscaping that may be necessary
  • If the infrastructure needed to complete the project is available – e.g. if there is enough road access
  • The layout, size, siting and appearance of the build

Usually, you will receive a decision from your LPA within 8 weeks, but it may take up to 18 weeks if your project is particularly large or complicated.

Appealing Against Refused Applications

If your application is turned down by the LPA, it is still possible to reach an agreement with them by altering your plans. You can also appeal against the LPA’s decision if you cannot finalise an agreement with them; however, it can take several months for an appeal to be finalised.

It is only normally possible to appeal against the LPA if:

  • Your application is refused
  • The LPA has served you with an enforcement notice because they believe that you have broken planning permission restrictions (and you disagree with this decision)
  • Permission has been given but you do not agree with the additional restrictions that have been placed on your project
  • The LPA refuses to give permission for something that you built as part of a “previous planning permission”
  • Planning permission has been refused for an “outline permission”, which is a type of planning permission for a general idea – not a specific plan
  • If permission is not granted within an agreed timeframe

Funding Your Next Property Venture

Finance is also an enormously important area to consider when you begin to plan your next property venture. Once you have sought planning permission, you should consider development finance options.

If you are unsure about how you should fund your next project, get in touch with us today and one of our underwriters will discuss your finance options with you.