What is Planning Application?

Planning permission or development approval is like a nod from your local authority to let you build, expand, or sometimes even demolish structures, granted under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1948.

When You Do Not Need It

Sometimes, you don’t need it. That’s where ‘permitted development rights’ come in. Think of them as a national thumbs-up for specific building projects without the hassle of a planning applications. However, these rights have conditions and limits to ensure everything stays in check and local areas are protected. Keep in mind that what works for houses might not apply to flats, and commercial properties have their own set of rules.

In certain areas, permitted development rights are a bit more restricted. If you’re in one of these places, you might want to check the specific rules. For example, if you live in:

  • a Conservation Area
  • a National Park
  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • a World Heritage Site or
  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

Read more about permitted developments here.

You’ll Probably Need Planning Permission if You Want To

  • Build something new
  • Alter your building significantly, like adding an extension
  • Modify the building’s intended usage

Typical Forms of Planning Applications Include the Following

Householder Planning Permission

This application is only intended for homeowners who require authorization to make repairs to their house or yard. The development plan is presented in its whole in a single planning application.

These include undertakings like:

  • Extensions and Conservatories
  • Loft and garage conversions
  • Windows and Doors
  • Outbuildings, Carports, and Garages
  • Garden walls, gates, and fences

Leave Outs

Modifications to a home could be covered by permitted development. Planning applications are not needed for this, however prior approval might be. In order to complete work under Permitted Development, you will need to meet certain requirements.

Work that may be covered by permitted development rights includes the following examples:

  • modest extensions to your house
  • Building a porch
  • Replacement of chimneys
  • Interior modifications
  • Roof lights and loft conversions

Full Planning Applications

Planning applications of this kind are the most prevalent. A development proposal’s complete specifics, including intricate drawings that depict the location and the work you want to perform, are submitted for review.

Certain development kinds call for a full permission application, such as:

  • the majority of non-residential developments
  • Any works pertaining to flats/apartments
  • Applications to alter the number of residences (such as adding a second house in the garden or converting an apartment)
  • Repurposing all or a portion of the land for non-residential use
  • Anything outside the property’s garden
  • Building Demolition and Restoration
  • Other work typically done by an engineer or other constructor with a temporary planning approval

The following are some examples of construction projects that might not need planning approval:

  • inside construction projects
  • Minor exterior modifications, like the installation of alarm boxes
  • installing fences and boundary walls below a specific height
  • Modifications in usage where the new use is incidental to the current use(s)
  • specific applications in forestry or agriculture

Lawful Development Certificate

A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) is essentially a legal nod from your local planning authority that certifies your development plans, past, present, and future, are sound and won’t encounter any problems. If they give you this certificate, it indicates they are not allowed to pursue enforcement measures against you for the plans you have made. However, bear in mind that the certificate will not shield you entirely from the planning authority’s enforcement proceedings if you make significant changes without the required approval. It’s kind of like a green light, but you still have to follow the rules!

When to Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate

When you apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC), it’s like checking if your current land use or any planned changes are allowed by the rules.

For existing stuff, it’s to see if what you’re doing now, or maybe something you did before, is okay and won’t get you into trouble.

For future plans, it’s a way to confirm if what you’re thinking of doing with your buildings or land is allowed.

Your land use is considered lawful if nobody can come after you for it, either because it doesn’t need special permission or because too much time has passed for anyone to say something. It also means you’re not breaking any rules laid out in any notices the authorities might have given you. So, it’s like a legal check to make sure everything is A-OK!

Prior Approval

National regulations automatically grant clearance for some sorts of construction projects; this is known as “permitted development.” But, to qualify for this, each type of project has its own rules and conditions outlined in the law.

Now, occasionally, even for these projects that have already received pre approval, you must consult the local planning authority. This is referred to as “Prior Approval.”  It’s like giving them a heads-up and saying, “Hey, we’re doing this. Is that cool?” This way, they may review your plans, consider any impacts on traffic, and ensure everything is in order before you move further. It’s an additional measure to ensure a flawless outcome!

Although there are many basic aspects and a general similarity in the procedure, each single approved development right will have unique requirements for the prior permission application. Here are a couple of scenarios:

Home Extensions: Obtain approval before beginning any construction if you intend to create a larger single-story addition at the back or even rise higher. It’s similar to making sure your fancy new ideas won’t cause any problems by consulting the planning authority.

Creating Dwellings: You can occasionally add stories to already-existing buildings or convert non-residential spaces into dwellings. However, you must first verify with the planning department before taking that action. It’s merely to ensure that everything complies with the regulations.

Conversion of houses to other uses: The following uses can be converted to homes within the specified bounds, however doing so requires submitting an application for prior approval. Permission for related work may be needed, while some may fall under each individual right depending on the particular modification.

  1. Shops or Offices (Use Class E): You can switch these to homes or even a mix of homes and flats. But, before you start packing, you’ve got to check with the planning folks. It’s just to make sure your cool new living space won’t cause any issues.
  2. Agricultural Buildings: If you have a barn or something similar, you can turn it into up to 5 homes. Cool, right? But, before you start picking out curtains, you need to get the planning authority’s approval.
  3. Unusual Places (Sui Generis): Places like casinos or takeaways can also become homes. But, again, you’ve got to check with the planning folks first. They want to make sure everything’s good to go.

It’s like asking permission to make sure your plans match the rules and won’t cause any trouble down the line!



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