If you have a property that you are planning on making changes to, such as constructing a building or remodelling a current building, you will need to apply for planning permission. There is an application process that will either result in an approval, a conditional approval, or a refusal.

Local planning authorities have been granted authority to make these decisions, and that usually means going to the planning department of the local council. If you have specific questions about what is needed for your application, then contacting your local planning authority would be the first step.

Application

Most applications can be found and submitted online along with the application fee. The amount of the fee will depend on the area in which you live, and the type of application you are submitting.

In addition to the application fee, there may be other costs involved. Preparing all the plans and documents can require design fees and surveys. There also may be more than one application that you will need to submit for full approval.

There are several kinds of applications, and you will need to discover which one suits your project the best. After the application is submitted, a sign is typically posted outside the address so people in the neighbourhood are made aware of the project. This is called public consultation and it can take three to eight weeks to give the public time to come forward with any concerns before approval is granted.

Once you have gone through the application process, the committee will make a decision. You will receive a letter telling you if your plans are approved or denied. The amount of time it takes to receive this letter varies depending on the area, the volume of applications, and complexity of your specific application. Most are processed within eight weeks, but some can be done faster or take a longer amount of time.

Applications typically need to include several copies of the application forms, signed ownership certificate, a site plan, block plan, elevations of the existing and proposed sites, a Design Access Statement, and the fee.

Planning consultants can also be used to help navigate through this process. If your project is very simple and you have experience, then they may not be worth the cost, but they are usually very helpful and save time and money. They stay abreast of the changing planning policies for the area which means they will move faster through the application. They can help ensure that approval is gained faster and that the proper applications are filled out the first time. They will even be able to help you work out any problems with the proposed project before it begins which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Conditions

Planning permission goes with the property, so you can usually sell or let it with the planning permission. You should check before you do this though, because sometimes there may be conditions placed on the property with the planning permission that limits the ways the property can be used or occupied. These limits are usually just in reference to a specific person or company that must be using the land in a certain way.

If your property was given a conditional permission and you are wanting to sell or rent it, then you need to apply to the LPA to remove or change the condition. This is just a similar, but not as lengthy, application that can be done online.

Three years granted

The planning permission you are granted will have an expiration date on it. Unless the permission states differently, the period of activity is usually three years from the date it is given to start making the changes. The work doesn’t need to be completed by then, just started. If you do not start within that time frame, then you will have to go through the entire application process again.

Sometimes a permission will be tentatively granted based on conditions that need to be met. If this is the case, then you will need to make the necessary adjustments before you can begin construction or development. An example of this would be if you need to submit approval details for a certain part of the development that was not properly documented in the original application.

Other Applications

If you submitted an outline permission application and it was approved, you will need to submit a more detailed application for things that were not covered by the initial application. These are called “reserved matters” and they must be approved before you can move forward. You typically have three years from the approval of the outline permission to get this further approval done.

In addition to reserved matters, you may also need additional approval like listing buildings or planning permission that deals primarily with demotion in a conservation area depending on your situation. You want to be sure you have all the proper permissions before moving forward with your project, and they can all be easily done online for your convenience. If you need multiple consents, like a full planning consent and listed building consent (or any other kind of permission), you can do them all online.

While you are waiting for your planning permission approval, you may be able to make some minor changes to the property, but you should always check with the LPA first to avoid making any mistakes.

If you decide to change your plans from what was listed on the application, then you will have to re-apply using the updated plans. If you were granted the planning permission and then want to change the plans, you can submit a non-material amendment application and once that is approved then you can make the desired changes. There is no set definition for what a non-material change is, that will depend on your specific situation. You can get pre-application advice from a local planning authority that can help you get started in the right direction so you do not go through the wrong application process.

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