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How to secure planning consent

Do you need planning permission for your building project?  If you intend to carry out major changes to a building or change the purpose of a building, then yes, it is highly likely you will need planning permission, unless permitted development rights are available.

Securing planning permission can be challenging, depending on the circumstances of your project.  Read our summary guide below to help you understand the planning process:

  1. Do you need planning permission at all? Permitted Development Rights exist to carry out a variety of works to a building including extensions and changes of use. There are procedures in place to allow you to formalise whether or not planning permission is required.
  2. Review planning policy. To understand whether your proposal has good prospects, then you will need to understand both national and local policy and how planning officers will assess your application. Even where a proposal conflicts with policy, ‘other material considerations’ may still enable it to be supported.
  3. Understand the Local Plan process. If your scheme is unlikely to get support, then policies are always changing and you can influence the process by promoting your site as an allocation for development or by changing policy wording. Local Plan preparation is a lengthy process and ‘getting in early’ is important.
  4. Is there a Neighbourhood Plan? This can act as a further level of policy that getting involved in might present a faster route to influence local decision making.
  5. Understand the planning history. Have similar proposals been promoted in the past that you can learn from?
  6. Seek pre-application advice. Before committing to the costs of a planning application, seeking advice from the Local Planning Authority in advance can give you a clear steer and provide you with confirmation over what plans and documentation you will need to submit.
  7. Consult with the community in advance. You should alert potential objectors to your proposals and try to get them ‘on side’ before your application is submitted.
  8. Understand the politics. Applications that have been subject to objection could get reported to Planning Committee for determination. Speaking to local members of both the Town/Parish Council and Local Authority can help influence decision making.
  9. Submit a valid application. Failure to submit the right plans and documentation will lead to an invalid submission that results in delay and frustration.
  10. Understand the timescales. Whilst many planning applications are determined within eight weeks, many are not and delays can be very significant. The Local Planning Authority is under no obligation to determine your planning application in a specific timescale.
  11. Double check land ownership. Do you own all the land relevant to the proposals? Is other land required for access? If so you may need to formally notify other parties and get them on board.
  12. Monitor the application closely. Wait for the consultation period to end (21 days) and seek to address any objections via revisions.
  13. If your application is refused. You can either test the decision by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate or submit a revised application that addresses the refusal reasons.

If you’d like an informal chat to determine whether your project requires planning permission or falls under the Permitted Development Rights exemptions, please contact Gareth Jackson in our planning team.