The content in the pages below are for information only and are not to be relied upon as your sole source of planning advice. If you have further detailed questions we recommend you seek the advice of a suitably qualified professional.

Who can submit a planning application?

Anyone can submit a planning application whether or not they own the property to which it relates. This is why when selling a house sometimes offers are accepted on property subject to planning permission being granted.

When you are ready to submit your applicaiton you can either choose to do this yourself or appoint an agent to manage this on your behalf.

An agent may be an architect or similar professional who is involved in the design of the development. They will be well used to providing your planning authority with the information they need to consider your planning application. A good agent will remove a lot of the stress involved in applying for planning permission.

How to choose a good agent for your planning application

Many people will offer their services as a planning agent, but this is a skilled job and it is important that the agent you select helps you to navigate the planning permission process.

What to look for in an agent:

1. Check their previous work

Using your local planning authority's website search for planning applications submitted by the agent. Things to review are:

  • Are the basic documents submitted at the first go, eg a site plan, design statement as well as the development design.
  • Are there many questions from the council back to the agent? This may mean the original documentation was not detailed enough.
  • Does the Agent have a good track record of obtaining permission? Or are there a lot of refused applications?


2. Contact previous clients

Ask the agent for references of their previous clients that you can speak to. This is far better than written testimonials on a website or leaflet. When you speak to the references consider asking:

  • Did the agent deal with your application in a timely and efficient manner?
  • How involved in the planning process did you need to be? 
  • Was the agent able to answer the planning authorities questions well and promptly?
  • Were the fees charged as agreed?
  • Were there any unexpected surprises during the planning process? How did the agent deal with these?

How long does planning application take?

Normally planning applications are decided within 8 weeks from the validation date. For planning applications which relate to a large or complex this time is extended to 13 weeks from the validation date.

Where do I apply for planning permission?

Normally you would apply by paper to your local planning authority or on the planning portal website.

Which planning application form do I need?

This will depend on what type of application you are making. Most councils have a series of application forms for you to download from their website. You should pick the form that most closely describes your application, for many this will be a householder application form. For example if you have a listed building and you wish to change the windows, you would need a Listed Building application form.

Which planning application do I need - England?

This depends on the nature of your development. The most common types are listed below. This information relates to planning applications in England.

Householder Planning Application

In England and Wales many planning applications are covered by a Householder application. 

Examples of a householder application are:

  • Adding Dormer Windows,
  • Adding a Conservatory,
  • Changing access to property
  • Erecting an outbuilding


Full Planning Consent

Full Planning Consent is needed for larger developments that exceed the scope of Householder developments and for developments relating to Flats or apartments. An example of Full Planning Consent would be the subdivision of a house into flats, or the erection of a new property.


Outline Planning Consent

This is where you are seeking to establish whether the nature, scale and scope of the development is in line with what the planning authority would deem acceptable.

Outline planning applications require less detail, and are in many ways quicker to submit, however if outline planning is granted you will still have another stage to go through before your development is fully approved - a reserved matters application. This reserved matters application asks for approval of the full details of the development.


Reserved Matters

This application is made within 3 years of the outline planning consent being granted and if covers the detail of the development. This would include the design, appearance, layout, etc of the development.


Listed Building Consent

If your development relates to a Listed building, you'll be looking for Listed Building Consent. This would cover items such as:

  • Demolition of the listed building
  • Work which would change the character of the building, e.g. window replacement
  • Subdivision of the listed building into dwellings or offices


Conservation Area Consent

This is consent to carry out works in a conservation area, examples of this may be:

  • Removal of boundary walls
  • Demolition of dwelling


Tree Preservation Orders

This is the application for consent to work on a Tree that has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it.

It can be difficult to find out if your tree has a TPO, some Planning Authorities such as Rother District Council have a interactive map  which includes TPOs. If your planning authority doesn't publish the location of trees subject to a TPO it's best to call them to check before starting work.


Prior Notification

These are common in agricultural and forestry applications. This is not a full application, the planning authority has 28 days from submission to decide whether to grant, refuse or whether a full application must be made . An example of a prior notification application would be a farm erecting a new shed for agricultural purposes.

More information can be found in Schedule 2, Part 6 of The Town and Country Planning (General PermittedDevelopment) (England) Order 2015 

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