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Planning Permission  

Prior to starting to build, extend, convert or alter your project in many cases you will first need to obtain planning permission from the local planning authority. Some information on planning permission is given below and how we can help with planning permission.


In basic terms planning permission is used to ensure that developments meet the requirements of planning law so that they are in the right place at the right time and make a positive contribution. It is the local authorities’ role to ensure that this is achieved by using planning controls to protect the character and amenity of their area.

Not all developments need to obtain planning permission such as:

  • Permitted Development

  • Some garage conversions

  • Repairs or maintenance.

  • Minor improvements i.e. painting your house or replacing windows

  • Internal alterations

  • Some demolitions

  • Insertion of windows

  • Replacing the roof covering

  • Erecting garden walls and gates if they are lower than 2m or 1m next to a highway

  • Decking if lower than 300mm above ground level and less than 50% of the garden including outhouses, sheds, extensions etc.

  • Some changes of use

The removal of the requirement of planning permission for the above is not without restrictions that are imposed by conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and statutory listing. If work is to be undertaken to a listed building often there is also an additional requirement for Listed Building Consent.


When planning permission is required the type of application made will be dependent on the work that is being undertaken. There are over twenty types of planning approval but the ones that are most frequently used are:

Householder planning consent is used for proposals for the enlargement and alterations to a single house including any work in the curtilage. It is used for projects where it has been established that planning permission is needed such as:

  • Extensions

  • Conservatories

  • Loft conversions

  • Dormer windows

  • Garages

  • Car ports

  • Outbuildings

  • Vehicle access

When making the application the choice of notice options is, householder, householder and demolition in a conservation area and householder and listed building consent applications.

A full application is used for detailed developments that are not covered by a householder application including building, engineering or other works, in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land. This includes amongst others:

  • any works relating to a flat

  • a new housing development

  • changes of use to part or all the property to non-residential (including business) uses

  • anything outside the garden of the property

  • changes to the number of dwellings

Outline planning consent is used to consider the principle of the proposal without the need for a detailed design being submitted. It can include information such as siting, design, external appearance, means of access and landscaping. However, details that are omitted will then need to be approved as reserved matters.

Once outline permission has been gained the reserved matters stage that usually has to be completed in 3 years follows on and the applicant submits more detail of the development including:

  • ‘Access’ – the accessibility to and within the site, for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians in terms of the positioning and treatment of access and circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding access network.

  • ‘Appearance’ – the aspects of a building or place within the development which determine the visual impression the building or place makes, including the external built form of the development, its architecture, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture.

  • ‘Landscaping’ – the treatment of land (other than buildings) for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated and includes: (a) screening by fences, walls or other means; (b) the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass; (c) the formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks; (d) the laying out or provision of gardens, courts, squares, water features, sculpture or public art; and (e) the provision of other amenity features;

  • ‘Layout’ – the way in which buildings, routes and open spaces within the development are provided, situated and orientated in relation to each other and to buildings and spaces outside the development.

  • ‘Scale’ – the height, width and length of each building proposed within the development in relation to its surroundings.

The reserved matters must relate to the approved outline and include any conditions that were attached to this permission. If significant changes are required, then a new outline or full planning application will be required.

Where a development is to be undertaken that can impact upon a heritage asset there will be further requirement to produce a heritage statement and in the case of listed assets an application for Listed Building Consent will be needed.

Before an application for planning permission is made there is an option to obtain pre-application advice from the local planning authority with this sometimes enabling the full application to proceed more smoothly with reduced costs. Most local authorities now charge for this service with planning fees being scaled to the size and/or complexity of the proposed development.

How we can help with Planning Permission

Planning permission will be the first stage in making your proposals legal and follows on from concept design. To make a planning application details of the proposed development will be needed, and the national minimum is:

  • A completed application form

  • Location plan 

  • Site Plan (also called a block plan)

  • Design and access statement (if required)

  • Ownership certificate and agricultural land declaration

In addition to the minimum national information that is listed above local planning authorities (LPAs) can request additional supporting information and details of these are supplied by local authorities. Not all this additional information is relevant to every planning application and will be dependent on the nature, scale and location of the proposed development. However, if the level of supporting information submitted is not enough the application will be registered invalid and delay the processing of the application. Most local planning authorities will request scaled drawings that show the existing/proposed floor plans and elevations for all planning applications. The list of further supporting information extends to more than 50 items with the requirement for these needing to be assessed for each proposed development.

Our role will be to complete the pre-application or full application by assessing the supporting information required and submit this along with the national requirements to the local planning authority. For Householder Applications the minimum additional supporting information will be scaled drawings that show the existing building and the proposed work – Including floor plans and elevations. When required we will liaise with the planning officer and undertake any minor revisions that are required to validate the application.

Contact us for Planning Permission

Once planning permission is obtained the next stage will be to gain Building Regulation Approval.

More information for house extensions here

More information for loft conversions here

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