The planning process can be difficult to understand. This is why we have created a easy to read flow chart highlighting all of all the key steps to obtaining planning permission through to starting building work. 

Download our Planning Process flow chart from the link below;

Step by Step Guide to Obtaining Planning Permission

1. Site visit & client requirements

The first and one of the most important stage’s is understanding your requirements and working out what can be achievable to your property. There are a number of different factors that need to be considered when working out if your proposal is acceptable to the planning department of your local authority. Every project is different and has its own set of challenges.

2. Measured survey

The next stage of works is a measured survey. This is where your existing property is measured to the finest detail to obtain room sizes, wall thicknesses, door opening, columns/other structural elements, window sizes, drain positions, floor zone depths, room heights and many more. It is essential to make sure that the measured survey is as accurate as it can be to prevent your proposed design not working with the existing building.

3. Existing plans and elevations produced and draft proposed plans and elevations

Using all the information from the measured survey the existing plans and elevations can be drawn. Once these plans are in place the proposed plans can be created from your initial requirements and research into what is acceptable by your local authority and planning legislation.

4. Refining proposed plan

Once the initial set of drawings have been produced this is your time to make as many changes as you would like to make sure you are satisfied with the proposal. Some of the items you should be checking are room layouts, room sizes, finishing materials (external only at this time), position of doors and windows and any other critical elements that you need.

5. Planning Application

Once you are happy with the proposed plans, all the other planning documentation and application can be filled out and then submitted to the local authority. Some of the work involved at this stage include drawings that need to meet specific planning requirements e.g. to be to scale, site plans showing your property, scale bars, etc, design and access statement may need to be created depending on your project.

6. Council validates and application goes through planning procedure

Once the application is submitted to the local authority they first must validate the application (this can take up to two weeks depending on the council). Once the application has been validated it will be given an application reference number and become available to view/track online. The planning application can take up to eight weeks to generate a decision.

7. Decision made: Appeal, Amend or Build

Once a decision has been made by the local authority the application would either be granted or refused. If the application was granted you now can find a builder and/or start creating detailed building drawings for a building control application. If the application was refused you can appeal the decision if you think the reason for rejection is not fair or you can make amendments to your original design to incorporate issues from the council and re-submit. You can submit an amended planning application for free if you submit it within one year of the refused application.

The above can vary depending on project requirements and circumstances. If you have any questions, queries or need more information give us a call on 020 8051 0789.


Q. How much does a planning application cost?

The fee for an application will vary depending on the type of application and size of the development. The most common Householder Planning Application costs £206 where a Lawful Development Certificate costs £103. There are ways in reducing these fees depending on your circumstances. These prices are set by the government and should not vary between local authorities.

Please note that the above prices are for people living in England.

Q. Which planning application do I need?

Depending on the size, style, location and intended use will ultimately determine what application you need. Householder Planning Application is the same as Full Planning Application but is more focused at householder developments e.g. extensions. Where Full Planning Application could be used to apply for the same things as a Householder Application but is more focused on larger development E.g. new builds. Both types of planning applications cost the same.

If your proposal comes under Permitted Development, you do not need to apply for any planning permission but it could benefit you. A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) provides you with confirmation that your proposal does comply with planning legislation and falls under the category of permitted development. It will also become an important document when you come to sell your property. You can apply for an LDC before or after the permitted work is complete.

Q. How long does a planning application last for?

All Full Planning Applications can vary, most commonly three years is issued. Lawful Development Certificate remains valid if the development described is carried out as per the granted application.

Q. How long does it take to acquire permission?

Once you submit your application to the local authority they will first need to validate your application. This can be done as quick as the same day or up to four weeks after you submit your application. This time will vary depending on the local authority, how busy they are, if you have been through Pre-Application Advice process and if your application is fully completed. Once the application is validated it can take up to 8 weeks to receive a decision. The whole process commonly takes between eight – twelve weeks.

Q. What is Pre-Application advice and do I need it?

Pre-Application advice is a service that most local authorities provide to evaluate your projects proposals against the current planning legislation and the local authority’s requirements. This service does normally cost but may vary between local authorities. The turnaround time also varies. This is a brilliant service if your proposal is complex or if you want to increase your chances of a successful application. After the council checks your proposal they will suggest changes or let you know if there are any issues with your proposal. Please note that Pre-Application advice does not mean that your proposal will be granted. Pre-Application advice can also speed up the planning application process.

Q. Who can submit planning applications?

Anyone can submit a planning application.

Q. What happens if our planning application fails?

If your first planning application fails there is no need to worry you have a few options. Firstly you can amend your proposal to accommodate the reason for refusal and re-submit the application. If you submit within one year after your refusal and your proposal is an amendment of the existing one it will be free. Second option is to appeal the refusal and go through the process to try and get the application granted. You can only appeal if you have a valid reason to. This process can be lengthy and may not change the original planning decision. Lastly if your proposal is unobtainable it would be to look at alternative extensions or adaptions which you would be happy with and try again with the new proposal.

If you have any questions, queries or need more information give us a call on 020 8051 0789.

Go to Planning Portal for interactive guides and more information.

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