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Planning Permission – Your Questions Answered Part 1

If the accelerating housing market has made you decide to move out or up instead of away, it is important that you know a little bit about planning permission. We have talked about specifics in the past, but check out this series of quick-fire answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Over this mini-series, we will be giving you the short answer to the following common planning permission queries:

  • What is planning permission?
  • Who needs it?
  • What can I do without needing planning permission?
  • How do I apply for permission?
  • What do I need to do to apply for permission?
  • How long will my application take?
  • What if it is denied?

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is official authorisation to build or make changes to a property or structure. Planning policy is controlled centrally by UK Parliament but local councils make decisions based on each request. Only an owner-occupier can seek planning permission and it must be sought before any work starts. Planning permission is harder to get for people who own property in a conservation area, or who want to adapt a listed property.

Who needs planning permission?

In general, if you want to build a structure or make a significant change to an existing one, you will need planning permission. If you are not sure whether you need it, ask your architect, builder or local authority.

What can I do without planning permission?

It is possible to make small changes to a property without planning permission – this is known as Permitted Development (PD). Under PD rights, you can add a certain percentage of space onto a property or make some improvements without needing permission. PD rights usually apply to industrial buildings or warehouses, adverts and signs, demolition work (although council approval is still needed). If your planned works will have no impact on neighbours or the environment, you may not need planning permission but it is wise to check with your local authority or a local architect or builder first.

Applying for planning permission

If you have employed an architect or project manager, they will be able to advise you on the most streamlined way to apply for planning permission in your area; they may even be able to submit the application for you. Usually, however, the quickest and easiest way is to apply through the online planning portal.

What do I need to make an application?

Applying for planning can be a lengthy process. You will need a survey of your home with drawings of the existing structure and proposed changes and a completed “design access statement” which shows that appropriate considerations in terms of design, materials and layout have been made. It can take 1-3 months to get your designs and the access statement completed, so ensure that you leave plenty of time.

Applying for planning permission is just the beginning; follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the next quick-fire round of Planning FAQs, including how long it takes to get permission, and what to do if you are refused.

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