To make a planning application for full planning consent, you have to first contact the relevant local authority. This can either be done online via the Planning Portal or on paper using the relevant forms.

Your application must be accompanied by the necessary plans of the site, the required supporting documentation, the completed form and the fee. Once an application has been validated and registered, the local planning authority (LPA) will then publicise and consult on it.

They will also either notify your neighbours or put up a notice on or near the site. In certain cases, applications are also advertised in a local newspaper. This gives the public the opportunity to express views. The parish, town or community council will usually be notified, other bodies such as the county council, the Environment Agency and the relevant Government Office for the region may also need to be consulted.

Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks unless they are unusually large or complex – in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks.

When deciding whether a planning application is in line with its Development Plan, the LPA will consider the following:

  • The number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
  • The infrastructure available – e.g. roads and water supply – and proposed means of access
  • Any landscaping requirements
  • The proposed use of the development
  • The likely impact on the surrounding area

A planning officer will present a recommended decision to a planning committee – made up of elected councillors. Applicants may attend these meetings and, in many cases, are entitled to speak briefly. Only the elected councillors can vote on the planning application itself. They do not always follow the planning officer’s advice. Councillors or planning officers cannot refuse a planning proposal simply because many people oppose it. If an application is refused – or granted subject to conditions – that decision must be based on the approved plans and policies of the LPA’s Development Plan. The key considerations will be whether the proposal would unacceptably affect amenities and the existing use of land and buildings which ought to be protected in the public interest.

Once a decision has been reached, the LPA must give either a summary of its reasons for granting permission or detailed reasons for refusal.

If an application is refused – or granted subject to conditions – the applicant will be told in writing. They then have the right to appeal.

The earlier you bring our town planners on board, the more you will benefit from our expert advice. We recommend our involvement with your project from its inception as it helps to safeguard against potential problems at a later date, thus saving you time and money.